Occupants: Sound, Public Space
and Appropriation.

Lauren Brown

Underground Sound, 2011 

Paul Irving

Music Machine, 2002  

Diane Audema + Diane Blondeau

Liqueo-Liquo 2011



Curated by 
Anabelle Lacroix


We are not only receivers (of information) but also transmitters
–Nicolas Bourriaud

Sound is an element that people are ambivalent about in their environment. It’s also an area of contemporary art that is not well known. The curatorial project Occupants brings together three artworks in which the technique of appropriation is central to exploring the relationship betweenj sound and public space.

Lauren Brown ‘s material is the sound that surrounds us, at the Collingwood Housing Estate with Underground Sound (2011), she installed several captors to records sounds and plugs for the inhabitants to connect their headphones and listen. Also positioned as listeners, Diane Audema and Diane Blondeau created a mobile sound lab (Liquo-Liqueo, 2011), experimenting with new sound tracts using the sound archive of the National Centre for Sound and Musical Creation in France. With the Music Machine (-(2002) Paul Irving created a motorized platform for the re-appropriation of public space via music and participation, the machine and instruments where all created from recycled materials.

The term Occupants refers to the re-arrangement of existing objects, cultural products, facts or ideas by artists rather than creating anew from a blank canvas for example. In this way, artists are not only creators but occupants of culture.2. Curator and theorist Nicolas Bourriaud identified that the artist’s post-produce the work of art, similarly like Djs, artists use all that is around them and are pirates3 of the constant flux of information that we live in.

This project was also inspired by Crystal Beacon’s history, referring to the Crystal Set: a simple radio receiver reduced to its essentials. Crystal Beacon was initiated as pirate web-radio. Crystal radios were the first widely used receivers that introduced radio to the public in the 1920's 4. They are the key contributor to wireless technology, starting with wireless telegraphy5 and are the cornerstone of the evolution of our acoustic environment.

1 Nicolas Bourriaud, ‘Notes on Globalisation’ in Kamal Boullata (ed,), Belonging and Globalisation: Critical essays on Art and Culture, SAQI, 2008, p106.
2 Ibid. Nicolas Bourriaud, Post-Prosuction, Les Présses du Réel, Paris, 2004 .
4 Basalla, George (1988). The Evolution of Technology. UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 44
5 Sarkar, T. K., & Baker, D. C. (2006). History of wireless. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience


Anabelle Lacroix is an Independent Curator and committee member of King's Gallery in Melbourne, Australia. Anabelle graduated from the International Master in Curating Art from Stockholm University, Sweden.