Parker M, 'The People's Cloud'
Parker M, 'These Times'
These Times is a complex composite of sound drawn from time pieces and church clock towers across the West Midlands (UK). The artwork is an investigation in to trauma. Few topics seem to be as difficult to navigate as violence and its impact. Across the globe, civilisations are either in trouble or are having trouble understanding contemporary conflict. The codes by which we understand and interact with it, seem to be in the process of being rethought in the law courts, medical schools, social agencies, governmental departments, the media – and, of course, the arts.
With These Times, Parker has remained true to form as a sonic investigator of mechanical objects, casting his ear on the vibrations of malfunctioning mechanisms. In conversation, the diverse time instruments used here each resonate with the scars of conflict. Before embarking on this quest he asked “where does hope reside?” These Times is his response.
Parker’s artwork forms part of a series of critical conversations and artistic responses led by Dr. James Hodkinson, academic researcher at Warwick University and Dr. Mohsen Keiany, exploring challenging themes. Parker’s work resonates with Keiany’s exploration of destructive, mechanised dehumanisation and Hodkinson’s interest in the power of the arts to awaken empathy. The installation stands as a beacon of hope for the considerate and a warning to be vigilant.
Written by exhibition curator Steven McLean.
8x Channel Audio Installation, 30min 00sec loop starting on the hour.
Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, UK (2019)
Re-imagining the Opposition: The Art of Empathy, St Michael’s House, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, UK (2019)
Arts Council England, University of Warwick, Coventry Cathedral, SoulCity Arts, Hybrid. (2019) Website
Parker M, 'Vibrating the Web: Sonospheric Studies of Media Infrastructure Ecologies'
(2019) Abstract Website
Parker, M, 'Memory Line'
Made with support from Arts Council England, The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park (TNMOC) and the EDSAC Charitable Trust, “Memory Line” is a multimedia artwork that reflects on the early days of computing and listens to computing veterans who remember their experiences of EDSAC, the first ever computer to have a form of memory storage.
The aim of this project was to commemorate the launch of one of Britain’s most important computer heritage projects, the replica of EDSAC, which was built at TNMOC. To do so, I researched into the material and sonic properties of its unique ultrasonic memory storage system. Inspired by the concept of storing memories using ultrasonic signals, I developed a work on memory of engineers, programmers and operators of early computing which included the volunteers of the EDSAC replica project but more significantly, three women who worked on EDSAC during its operational period of 1949-1953. With the EDSAC project historian we determined they were the only three people still alive today to have worked on the computer. Their oral history documentation was a vital historical resource for the museum and for the project.
Given the significant role of women in early computing history, and the significant gender imbalance within contemporary computing industries, the work focusses on telling the story of women in computing from three pioneers who share their experiences. The EDSAC replica volunteers, discuss their memories of early computing but also are asked to consider their memories of the roles of women in the early computing industry. In this way, the work not only acted as a media archaeological and media history document, it also contributed toward the important women in STEM subject’s agenda. This was further addressed through the hosting of a live coding workshop inspired by the artwork, which invited predominantly young women to attend, at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.
Memory Line was exhibited at the Milton Keynes Central Library, Milton Keynes, UK in July 2018. Milton Keynes is the nearest city to Bletchley Park where TNMOC is based and it was agreed with the museum, MK Gallery, and MK Library teams to exhibit the work in the Central Library; the public archive of history and knowledge in the city centre. In October 2018, the work was exhibited at the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, where the EDSAC was originally built in 1949. The exhibitions lasted for nine days each and a public lecture was given on the topic of media materiality and gender in computing at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, along with a half day ‘live-coding’ workshop which invited 22 participants (mostly young women) where participants were given audio clips taken from interviews that featured in the work. Over 10,700 people were recorded as benefitting from the activity.
External Artist Portfolio
Two Edition Artwork, with public talk and workshop
Multimedia installation Edition
- 1x 34U 19″ powder coated rack cabinet on castors
- 8x 4″ CRT monitors
- 5x Raspberry Pi model B+
- 5x loudspeakers
- 8x channel power amplifier
- 4x 2m nickel wires (0.42mm)
- neodymium magnets
- 1x powder-coated frame
- 1x A/D| D/A converter and audio interface
- assorted copper wiring in insulated sheath
Multichannel film Edition
4x channel sound with 4x HD video (27min 02sec)
Festival of Ideas, The Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (2018)
MK Central Library, MK Festival Fringe, Milton Keynes, UK (2018)
Festival of Ideas, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (2018)
Sounding the Archive, ECR Masterclass, Wellcome Trust, London, UK (2019) (2018) Website
Parker M, 'Fields of Athenry'
Sound highlights the complexity, intimacy and emotional texture of the relations between the self and environment. Juxtaposing found footage of football fans chanting the popular Irish song The Fields of Athenry, with a series of sonic investigations undertaken at the site of Apple’s new data centre in Athenry, “Fields of Athenry” is an audiovisual installation work investigating how the medium of YouTube is a way of connecting what Athenry is, to what it might become, as the small rural town prepared to allow one of the largest data centre complexes in the world to be built nearby.
The digital is fundamentally rooted/routed through physical, material space: sequences of voltages exchanged between transistors; large infrastructural assemblages that span the earth’s crust, born out of rare earth minerals and other geophysical substrates. “Fields of Athenry” investigates the consumer usage of digital systems, through a significant, digitally shared, collective experience (a thrashing of the Irish national football team by Spain at EURO2012, where Irish fans sang the popular political song The Fields of Athenry) and the publicly contested site of Derrydonnell Forest in Athenry, where Apple commenced construction on one of the largest IT Data Centre complexes in the world.
Using mobile devices to playback synchronised fan footage and loudspeakers to playback the environmental sounds recorded during a series of field trips to Athenry, the installation is set in a darkened environment reflecting the insulated, dark ecologies of the subterranean, high security ‘media infrastructure’ network.
“Fields of Athenry” was initially commissioned and exhibited by the Brighton Digital Festival in 2016. It was subsequently exhibited in London and Birmingham in the UK. A subsequent commission by the LAB in Dublin followed as well as a number of invitations for public speaking around the research theme in Ireland, the UK, and Latvia.
External Link to Artist Portfolio
16x Apple iPod Touch 4th Generation (obsolete)
1x Apple iPhone 4 (obsolete)
1x Apple AirPort Extreme A1408 (obsolete)
4x Large Format Newsroll Prints
16x Consumer fan videos (source: YouTube)
16x Videos & Sound Recordings (source: Derrydonnell Forest, Athenry)
Exhibitions / Outputs / Performances
- Brighton Digital Festival, Brighton, UK (2016)
- Acts of Searching Closely, ASC Gallery, London, UK (2016)
- Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2018)
- New Babylon, Arcade East, London, UK (2019)
Parker, M. (2019) ‘An Apple a day: Listening to data centre site selection through a sonospheric investigation’ In: Culture Machine 18 pp.1-15
- FameLab, Guest Speaker. British Council and Science Gallery Dublin, Dublin, IE (2018)
- The Sound Of Memory: Sound-track / Sound-scape. Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2017)
- Visiting Lecture Series, MA in Art and Research Collaboration, IADT Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, IE (2017)
- Open Fields. Vibrating the Web. RIXC Conference, Riga, LV (2016)