Part-research assignment, part-installation and sound art project, work by Disinformation redefines the term electronic music.
Disinformation, aka British sound artist Joe Banks, is in Auckland this month for the council-funded annual Living Room public event.
He wants Aucklanders to "hear" their city. He will produce a new incarnation of Disinformation's on-going National Grid project which creates hypnotic drone music by manipulating electromagnetic noise from mains transformers and the ambient radio field created by electricity pylons.
Disinformation's Auckland sound installation will take a live feed from power sources to turn up the volume on electrical activity from the Britomart precinct to "savour the deep, pulsing sounds and surprising dynamics of Auckland's power supply".
Electromagnetic noise is generated by various sources including live mains electricity, lightning, railway and IT hardware, laboratory equipment, magnetic storms and the sun.
Disinformation's National Grid project uses this noise as the basis for music and sound installations which he says document the hidden world of electrical and atmospheric radiation, and expose relationships between energy, architecture, politics and sound.
The project, which started in 1995, has become a soundtrack which highlights political conflicts about the control of electrical infrastructure.
In 16 years, Disinformation has recorded eight albums, performed more than 100 concerts, contributed to 70 gallery exhibitions and has been the subject of 11 solo shows.
Disinformation comes to Auckland as part of Living Room, Auckland Council's annual 10-day public art event which features visual and performing artists from New Zealand and around the world.
With a different theme each year, this year's Living Room is called Metropolis Dreaming. Installations, live performances, sound art, video projections and a poster project will be used to encourage Aucklanders to look anew at our surroundings and rediscover aspects of the city - including its human networks and connections - which are often overlooked. All events are free and take place in municipal spaces which become, as the name suggests, living rooms.
Curator Andrew Clifford says by taking everyday structures, which might be seen as mundane and taken for granted, artists can highlight the "imaginative possibilities" of the ordinary.
For example, the front of the Smith & Caughey building on the corner of Queen and Wellesley Sts will house Gregory Bennett and Michael Hodgson's Impossible Choreographies.
The duo will use digital animation to re-invent the facade of the department store, built in 1927. The outdoor display, from 6-11pm from April 13, uses moving figures inspired by the early Hollywood choreography of Busby Berkeley projected on to the front of the building.
Ani O'Neill, best known for using fabric arts, joins with wearable arts doyen Tarja Pabbruwe for Camp Cosy. They'll set up a mini-caravan park in Khartoum Place and serve cups of tea while using donations of unwanted woollens to make surreal headwear perfect for the autumnal weather.
Tokyo-based sculptor and sound artist Ujino is using abandoned cars, everyday appliances and street paraphernalia to build a mechanical dragon. His automotive taniwha will sit in Aotea Square and watch over the tides of traffic on Queen St, a road which was once a stream.
Glasgow resident David Shrigley, one of Britain's most highly regarded contemporary artists, is also part of the lineup. His seemingly simple black and white line cartoon-type drawings, captioned with ambiguous quips, have been described as "mordantly humorous" and published in books, postcard packs, in the New Statesman and each Saturday in the Guardian's Weekend magazine. He has also directed music videos for Blur's Good Song and Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Agnes, Queen of Sorrow.
He didn't hesitate to join this year's Living Room event. He has a strong connection to Auckland - his sister has lived here for more than a decade and he's been a regular visitor during that time.
"I know New Zealand fairly well so I felt I understood the sensibilities of the people," says Shrigley from his Scottish home. "I wouldn't have felt so confident if I'd been asked about doing a similar project in Australia because I haven't been there."
Shrigley submitted a number of images for inclusion in the Living Room poster project, which also features work by New Zealanders Peter Madden, Sara Hughes and Ruban Nielson.
His drawings will appear at 520 Queen St (below Surplustronics) and on the corner of Gore St and Gore St Lane. He describes one, of a knight in full armour and the word "clothes", as a comment on consumerism.
But Shrigley says he works in an intuitive way and it is often the context in which his work is placed which introduces political or social messages.
"If I said I set out to deliberately comment on anything specific, that would be wrong. The meaning in my work is often a little ambiguous.
"The work is funny, but hopefully that's not the only thing about it, otherwise it's just comedy and serves no other purpose. I think I need the humour and it's born out of a need to make myself laugh. A lot of my work is about quite weighty subjects, existentialist and moral questions and meanings. If you exclude the humour, then it would be very dark and probably not so palatable.
"When you make something humorous and when people are able to laugh, it means they understand it, so you've made something accessible."
What: The Living Room
Where and when: Venues throughout Auckland CBD, April 8-17