James Beckett (b. 1977, Harare, Zimbabwe) graduated from the Technikon-Natal, Durban South Africa, after which he took part in a two-year residency in the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Coming from a background of installation, sound has come to develop a more central role in his work. This has been a research based activity with output ranging from radio documentaries to mock ethnic bands, and museum displays documenting the cultural and physiological effects of noise.
The evolution in specific areas of the industrial revolution have also played muse; such as the foundation of synthetic colour manufacture and its relationship to BASF, and the cultural implications of vacuum tubes for the Dutch firm Philips. Without humour, his work would appear as mere cynicism - it is romance with an inherently rotten subject matter which offers some sort of redemption in a modern world.

Trophies - Vibrö 5 (track 03)
Improvisation upon instruction (Mediamatic, Amsterdam 2005) Trophies is a short concert realised with members of the N-collective. Featuring 6 percussionists, live sampling and a ‘fire organ’, trophies was conceived as a series of instructions for improvising musicians. A simple gestural score was made for sake of this instruction, showing slight accents in parts, but for the most part just consistent twitch and flutter. Through placement in context, each subtle short sound becomes a particle in a larger body, forming a kind of tissue with a distinct character.
The ‘fire organ’ holds a low oscillation as a kind of pulse, a binding element pumping blood under an array of bits and pieces. Thought of in terms of mass, the fabric of the piece remains sketchy whilst it slowly shifts as a sort of blanket of sound going nowhere.
After a stage of seeming redundancy the path shifts; otherwise chaotic elements find each other and become arranged -from mess comes a closure. Much of the clutter is reduced to long bowed notes, whilst several of the percussionists find each other to execute little motifs within a new found rhythm.

Concept direction, fire organ: James Beckett - Sampler: Jeff Carey - Percussionists; Koen Nutters, Morten J. Olson, Viljam Nybacka, Dirk Bruinsma, Nicolas Field, Alexandre Babel





2007 ‘Museum of Noise, Mark Bain and James Beckett’, Koln, DE
2007 ‘A-for Alibi’, Uqbar foundation, De Appel, Amsterdam, NL
2007 ‘Sirens’, Catalogue of Curated Exhibition, Amsterdam, NL
2005 ‘Radiodays’, Stichtung De Appel, Amsterdam, NL
2005 “Open”, SKOR, Amsterdam Amsterdam, NL
2004 ‘Run’, Smart projects in Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey
2004 “Values” Catalogue, 11th Serbian Bianale Pancevo, Serbia
2004 Initiation: Gregg Smith, RAIN, ‘Very Real Time’ Cape Town, ZA
2003 Initiation: goodwill, Catalogue, ‘A Partial Museum of Noise’ Amsterdam, NL
2003 Prix de Rome, Sculpture, Art and Public Space Amsterdam, NL
2001 Stichting V/H de Gemeente, ‘Home Made’ Leeuwarden, NL
2000 Initiation Greg Streak, RAIN, ‘Pulse’ Durban, ZA

Articles/ Review (Selection)

2007 review, T293, Naples Italy, Art Forum Italy, Eugineo Viola, IT
2006 review, James Beckett, "vonhundert" magazine Berlin, Astrid Mania, DE
2006 review, "Zitty" city guide magazine Berlin, DE
2006 review, 'Nebenwirkungen' - Koelischer Rundschau, DE
2006 review, 'Das Brummen von 220 Volt' - Koelner Stadanzeiger, DE
2006 review, ''>>Museum of Noise<<” Roland Schappert Kunst forum, DE
2006 review, mail and guardian, author: alex sudheim, ZA
2006 review, artthrob, author: dean henning, ZA
2003 article, (review of prize), Prix De Rome, Ina Boiten, Art and Public Space, NL
2003 articles, Mark Kremer and Ansuya Blom, NICC, Koninklijk Museum Voor Schoene Kunsten, , Antwerpen, BE
2003 review,“Scherpa’ – Daily Paper, Antwerpen, BE

Education/ Residency:

2008- International-Residence at Recollets-Paris
2001-2002 Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam
1996-1999 Technikon Natal, BAFA (degree), South Africa

Solo exhibition (selection):

2007 T293 Napoli, Italy, 'Living Registration'
2006 Buerofriedrich Berlin, 'Living Registration’
2006 Untitled Installation, Natal Society of Arts Durban, ZA
2003 NICC, Koninklijk Museum Voor Schoene Kunsten
‘Climb on Shoulders to Peep Over and Dismount with Lips in Hedge’ Antwerp, BE
2002 PLUS Gallery, ‘Extract Arrangements’, Dusseldorf, DE
1999 Natal Society of Arts, ‘Home’ Durban, ZA
1999 The Yard, B/W Photography, ‘Breathing Space’ London GB
1999 Natal Society of Arts/ Palmer street studios, ‘Breathing Space’ Durban, ZA

Exhibition/ (selection):

2007 ‘Between Thought and Sound’, The Kitchen New York, US
2007 ‘Chaos City 2’, Universal Studios, Beijing, CN
2007 ‘Return of the Gastarbeiter’, Kucevo, Serbia
2007 "Museum of Noise' (with Mark Bain) Koelnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, De
2006 Untitled Façade piece for VHDG Leeuwarden NL
2006 “Practicum 06a”, N-Collective in Mediamatic Amsterdam NL
2005 Adam, SMART Project Space Amsterdam, NL
2005 ‘Radio Days’, De Appel, produced four radio programmes Amsterdam, NL
2005 ‘Dutch Open’, De Balie, Dutch Premiere screening of ‘Pioneer’, Amsterdam, NL
2005 “Low Tech”, Arte Amsterdam, NL
2004 “Hit and Run”, Istanbul, Platform and Smart Projects Istanbul, Turkey
2004 11th Serbian Bienale Visual Arts, “Values” Pancevo, Serbia
2004 Nanjing Art Institute, DAI/ NAI Nanjing, CN
2003 Opkomst Yaarbeurs, ‘Vacuum’ Utrecht, NL
2003 Gem -Museum of Contemporary Art, Prix de Rome,
‘A Partial Museum of Noise’ Den Haag, NL
2003 Emmaus-Ölberg-Gemeinde, ‘Death’ Berlin, DE
2002 Centre for Contemporary European Art, ‘Rendevous’ Xiamen, CN,
2002 Dokumenta, collaboration Narcisse Tordoir /Meschac Gaba Kassel, DE
2002 ‘Bessengue City’, -set up radio station Doula, Cameroon
2002 Spar Kassa, ‘Filiale Afrika’ Dusseldorf DE
2002 Cucosa Contemporary Art Space, ‘Noise of Coincidence’ Rotterdam, NL
2002 Outline Project Space, ‘A Haunted house of Art’ Amsterdam, NL
2001 Stichting V/H de Gemeente, ‘Home Made’ Leeuwarden, NL
2001 Karl Hofer Society, with Khwezi Gule/ Robin Rhode, Berlin, DE
2001 Centre Soeleil d’Afrique, ‘CLICK’ Bamako, Mali
2001 Las Palmas, ‘Adrift’ Rotterdam, NL
2000 NSA, Rijksakademie R.A.I.N., ‘Pulse’ Durban, ZA
1999 Civic Centre, Graduates of Natal Tech. Johannesburg, ZA
1998 Palmer Street Studios, ‘Black and Blue’ Durban, ZA
1997 Bat Centre, Collaboration with Sandberg Institute
‘Stel Hotten Totten Ten Ten Toon,’ Durban ZA

Fellowships / Awards

2005 Basis Stipendium, Fonds Voor Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, NL
2003 Winner Prix de Rome, Art and Public Space, NL
2002 Stipend: Rijksakademie Beeldende Kunsten/ Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture/ Science
2002 Grant: National Arts Council, Johannesburg, ZA
2001 Grant: Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Johannesburg, ZA
2001 Stipend: Rijksakademie Beeldende Kunsten/ Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture/ Science
1999 Emma-Smith scholarship, Durban , ZA

Concert/ Lecture/ Performance/ Workshops

2007 ‘Circalles’ Stage and Light, composition of Martijn Tellinga, Huis ad Werf, NL
2006 “Lucier in Taiwan” concept and teacher of sound workshop Taipei, TW
2006 “Loss of meaning in Language”, Delft Architecture Dept. Delft, NL
2005 Nadine Project Space, performance/concert Brussels, BE
2004 Nanjing University, lecture /sound w/s, Nanjing, CN
2003 Baby, concert, ‘Schoenberg /Gamelan imposition’ Amsterdam, NL
2003 Lost and Found, Concert, ‘Fridge’ Amsterdam, NL
2003 Nederlands Architecture Institute, Concert Rotterdam, NL
2002 Alliance Francais, Seminar, ‘International Art practice’ Yaoudé,Cameroon
2002 Stubnitz.nl/NDSM-WERF, concert with Marijn Korff de Gidts Amsterdam, NL
2002 Rijksakademie, concert, ‘Mantra for Motors’ Amsterdam, NL
2002 Muntplein, concert ‘Muntplein Transferal’, Amsterdam, NL
1999 National Art Gallery, Salt performance, Durban, ZA

Curated Exhibitions

2007 'Here as the Centre of the World', in collaboration with Dutch Art institute, 50 artists -Netherlands, Turkey, Taiwan, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan, Enschede NL
2007 ‘Sirens, an evolution from water, through water, to water’ 66 –East, Architecture and Urban planning space, Amsterdam
2 006 ‘Lucier in Taiwan’, Artists from the Netherlands and Taiwan, (In an empty apartment block) Taipei, Taiwan
1997 ‘Thirty Seven Songs’, 37 artists, Durban, ZA

Current Commissions/ Work

2 003 - 2007 Guest Tutor, Dutch Art Institue Netherlands
2007 -2008 Developing an installation for Research Departments of Netherlands Cancer Institute, facilitated by SKOR, NL


GENERAL INFO, SALES ENQUIRIES, PARTNERSHIP : info (at) vibrofiles (dot) com