Great Exhibitionists: a renewed commitment to life and decay, always

Liam Dougherty creator
Shirley Renwick creator

a renewed commitment to life and decay, always is a participatory audio-visual installation in the Royal College of Music Museum, London.

A collaboration between composer and sculptor. Visitors are confronted with a 100 year old upright piano that has been stripped down, baring its essential components in the soundboard and strings. It is accompanied by a sculptural instrument searching for feedback in the air, its piano wire antenna reaching beyond its confines. Any sound in the air will cause the piano wires to resonate, and this energy is captured by microphone and diffused throughout the Museum through multiple layers of code and technologies.

This installation explores the hidden resonances of the instruments and the air, by using strings and technology to translate the potential sound vibrations into a visual and sonic force not usually experienced at the forefront of our perception.

Part of our Great Exhibitionists series. 

31 March 2022, 12:00pm

RCM Museum

Free, but required



I am interested in air.

i am from the atlantic coast of scotland. Air resonance is deep rooted for me, its motion, its power, its changes, its becomingness. This object, or bunch of objects within it, crashing around in the geist space, distrubing the gestalt, constantly becoming.

I was a breaking news journalist. what is in the air is a void, but an active void. what is now, liveness, it is social, political, ecological, geological, anthropological, historical, ethical and philosophical all at one instant.

Lyotard – when no words for unjust, breaks the system, ruptures. See the culture as it is, unreal, Baudrillard’s simulacra and simulation.

Constraints of language, systems, structures, in music, language, society deny the void, but ruptures and clashes within the space allow for new opportunities and threats. Collaborating with not forcing structure can help see this non human other, sometimes human sometimes not. A third space. (Or even more dimensions – physics, Robert Irwin phenomenology, post phenomenology.) I was in the music industry, I was interested in interaction, choice, not forcing, allowing, collaborating appeals to my curiosity for insight into what is happening around me and can often reflect back in me.

boundaries, edges, lines. irregular, ruptures, richochets. interactions. 1920s artists, 60s artists today,

Klee/Sophie Taeuber Arp/Barbara Hepworth/ Robert Irwin/Richard Serra drawings/Lee Ufan/Sarah Sze/Pierre Huyghe (Constable sketches/Turner/Hepworth sketches) Pauline Oliveros/Alvin Lucier

During Covid I have become more aware of the moving spheres of existence. I have been exploring the space between. Drawings and models of sculptures have depended on finding boundaries and edges, lines and them being shaky, unstable, sqiggly, categories and their failure in completion, or their disturbance, or multiple differing events, helps to see through their structures, visible and invisible.

grids, edges, squiggles and circles and the space between them all – in the clashes and ruptures, vibrations, feedback this is where the action happens, in the active void.

I am interested in other nonhuman entities and using human tech and tools to communicate, its failure highlight for me the structures of human communication, the distance from real, the seeming naiveity of even seeking truth today. Tech produces partial truths and partial simulation, partial simulacra, partial sensationalism, and partial certainty, a belief that the whole truth is available (in tech/science/human).

paradox –

of stillness,

of certainty,

of silence,

of stability,

of edges,

of control.

permeable me,

Long Rhythms – air time – real, truth, indexical, elemental.

Philosophy/theorists – Heidegger, Irwin, Harman, Bennett, Tudorov, new materialism, speculative reality/aesthetics

Also Francois Lyotard, Stuart Hall, Timothy Morton, Daisy Hildeyard, 10 dimensions book, Mark Fisher – many viewpoints/dimensions, contradictions, eerie points to unknown/more truth.

Shirley Renwick Map 2021

Shirley Renwick, Stone Circle 2020


Shirley Renwick Hello World Series, Silence 2020


Shirley Renwick Deconstructed Landscape Painting Air collaboration in felt and ink. 2021


Shirley Renwick, Language 2020
Shirley Renwick, The Absurdity of Language 2020


Shirley Renwick Sound impressions 2020


Shirley Renwick, Air portrait 2020



hello world sound

hello world video

On the Low Carbon Design Institute Residency

Really invigorating to be an artist in residence at the Low Carbon Design Institute 2021: mixing with gently powerful creative thinkers innovating change.

Low Carbon Design Institute

Response: The way forward appears to be circular: loops, bubbles and circles. And friction, which need not be not fun: ruptures can lead to better circles. Beware of creating apparent dead ends. Rethink everything. Make everything green. It may feel disorientating, embrace it, reshape, redefine. Energy, power, economics, media, tech drives change. Hearts and minds care about community and support. Fear, nurturing, empathy for the suffering, positive energy for greener change. Uselessness is a sign, a call to action, get to the system and change. It will change without you, so take a bit of power to protect what you value. Then loop round and do it again until there are swirling circles looping in 3D luminescent bubbles all around. Is that why stonehenge is a closed circle? Have we been telling ourselves this before?

My individual action feels useless against the huge climate, but scale up to species level and 1 billion human actions has impact. Good or bad, our individual choice, for now. Choice, if we want to claim it, is in the balance, if we change ecology, ecology will be changed. We can’t expect to continue as we are, but we can make a choice to continue what we want, and reverse the harm. Even if just in seemingly stupid little ways.

World News at Noon

Launch date: 21st June, 2021, noon (ongoing)

In this solar powered bulletin*, an update on human data is given to the Earth’s networks. Available in real time at noon (GMT time). (*Live broadcast transmission may fail on cloudy days.)

In association with the Low Carbon Design Institute residency 2021:

“The Earth cannot talk” Ross Atkin

“Systems affect you, human and non-human….visible, hidden or invisible powers” Dr O G

“The average citizen thinks government will take care of it.” Adam Hardy,

“Its easy to feel overwhelmed by something as big as climate” Luke Nicholson

“Reject boundaries – reuse, repurpose, reform” Simone Ferracina

“We are rethinking everything” Debby Ray

How can we reduce internet carbon use? Michelle Thorne

Liberation not limitation.

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Hope (We want it back) 2021

Hope (We want it back), Shirley Renwick, Installation, paper. The Safe House, London, June 22-29 2021

25,002 tissue paper confetti pieces, dropped on the threshold of The Safe House, London.

First Impressions Exhibition,

The Safe House, London, SE15 3SN.

22-27 June, 2021

Confetti – a ritual object with myth attached, contains traces of celebration, love, joy, union, togetherness; A fragile tissue of pastel circles.

Hope – strong, fragile, seductive, contagious, vulnerable, optimistic, possibilities, unlimited.


UN figures show that 137 women across the world are killed every day by a partner or member of their own family – a total of 50,000 women a year murdered by people they know and should be able to trust.

MYTHICAL FOOD: Make your own Himalyan Rock Salt Recipe Card

Make your own fake food: Himalayan rock salt

In collaboration with the Centre for Genomic Gastronomy


Salt (any type, at least 180 miles from Himalayas)
Underpaid worker to mine (home carer would do)
Explosives, hand tools (do not use machines)
Rock (local stone)
Water (local tap)

Mix salt in water until it does not dilute any more.
If rock is too large to carry, place explosive in a drilled hole first.
Pour mixture over rock (mimic rock in sea)
Wait a few days (for human-made sea water to dehydrate away)
Chip away crystals and package (preferably in plastic)
Ship around the world (before consuming)

TIP: You may need to prevent local animal from licking stone