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Transmissions From The Drone Orchestra: Loop60Hz- Performance Film

Two fearless innovators, musical pioneer John Cale and architectural visionary Liam Young, transformed the Barbican’s Theatre with a brand new audio-visual collaboration, Loop 60 Hz: Transmissions from the Drone Orchestra. For nearly 50 years, John Cale has thrived at the vanguard of a myriad of creative disciplines, from setting the stage for an underground, noise-bending attack on rock and roll with the Velvet Underground, to his current genre-bending music of today. In his urban futures practise Young has been telling stories about the possibilities of drone technologies in the near future city. Typically associated with militarised applications, Young repurposes his collection of choreographed flying machines as both disembodied instruments and nomadic audio infrastructure, to create an immersive live music performance and visual spectacle.
Known for experimenting with technologies and industrial sounds in his music, Cale once tuned his instruments to the hum of refrigerator motors, the frequency of modernisation. For this new commission he joins forces with speculative architect and storyteller Liam Young to explore the soundscape of a new generation, the distant rumble of drone propellers for a sellout season of live performances for the Barbican Theatre in London.
A flock of autonomous DJI copters are programmed as aerial dancers and are mounted with specially engineered wireless speakers to broadcast the instruments of the band. Other copters are dressed in elaborate costumes to disguise their form and reflect light across the audience below. Against a score of original compositions and selected tracks from Cale’s seminal career this collaboration with Young imagines the possibilities of the drones as emerging cultural objects. If these technologies are no longer unseen objects overhead, or propelled along classified flight paths but brought into close and intimate relations with us then how might we see them differently. When their transmission fades, when the drones lose their signal and without their protocols for terror and surveillance, do they drop from the sky, do they fall in love or do the drones drift endlessly, forever on loop.
Film by: Bevis Bowden cataloguing the Barbican performance on the 12 & 13 September 2014.


Liam Young

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  • Speculative Architect

Matteo Plachesi

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Project Tags

  • Drone
  • Orchestra
  • Barbican
  • Technology

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