In the Invisible Garden – where the magic happens…

Absent Sitter

Gazelle Twin (UK), Kit Monkman (UK), Ben Eyes (UK), University of York Music Department (UK)

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A digitally abstracted audio-visual performance

Commissioned and developed by York Mediale, Absent Sitter is a digitally abstracted live alternative to touring, created by experimental musician, composer and performer, Gazelle Twin, immersive creative collective, KMA and sound artist Ben Eyes with the University of York Music Department. The artwork explores the power of ‘collective imagination’ within an audience and the importance of ‘presence/absence’ in a live event. The research into the project has been ongoing since late 2019, with the prototype digital version being launched at York Mediale in October 2020. This new iteration of the project will debut at Ars Electronica 2021 Festival and will bring together intimate live audiences with a dispersed digital audience in a genuinely new form of hybrid event, were the question of ‘who is performer and who is audience?’ will be brought into sharp focus. Make space for the Absent Sitter……


This is a 360 virtual reality event featuring binaural audio. Please ensure you are watching on an Oculus Quest 2 headset or similar and listening with a good quality pair of headphones.
Please note, this event features use of flashing lights and strobing effects

Ben Eyes (UK): Ben Eyes is an award winning composer and sound artist working in the North of England. His work is typified by large, complex textures and sound collages using field recordings, heavily treated guitars, acoustic instruments and vintage analogue synthesisers. His performances combine video, immersive surround sound, live musicians and live audio manipulation. His interests lie in working outside the usual musical realms including collaborative work in theatre, performance art and film. He won the award for Best Use of Sound at ICAD in 2017 for his composition „Fiamignano Gorge“ based on data from the earthquake prone gorge in Italy. Ben has performed at festivals and concerts across Europe and the USA and released music on record labels Time Released Sound (USA), The Centrifuge and This Is Music. Ben has recently worked with award winning composer Ambrose Field, Trevor Wishart, Bafta Nominee Jane Horrocks on the Manchester International Festival show “Cotton Panic” and worked with Mercury nominees Roller Trio. Ben has recently completed a Masters by Research in Music Technology at the University of York entitled ‘Multimodal Performance Approaches in Electronic music’. He is currently undertaking a PhD at York, researching the design and creation of computer controlled electro acoustic instruments as part of a PhD in digital composition.

GAZELLE TWIN (UK): Composer, musician and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, conceived Gazelle Twin in 2009 as the moniker under which she has since released the critically acclaimed albums; Pastoral (2018), Kingdom Come (2017), Unflesh (2014) and her debut, The Entire City (2011) on her own label, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray. Her music presents dystopian themes through experimental electronic production and extraordinary live performances which feature changing personas. Unflesh, unveiled an onstage costume based on Bernholz’s teenage PE kit, reflecting the album’s deeply personal themes of teenage anxiety and body dysmorphia. Kingdom Come, an audio-visual performance piece commissioned by Future Everything Festival (Manchester) in 2016, depicted an imagined English fascist hell-scape inspired by JG Ballard’s final novel. Gazelle Twin’s third studio album, Pastoral, conjured English folkloric traditions with a footy mascot twist, made in response to a move to post-Brexit rural England. In 2019 Gazelle Twin collaborated with Max de Wardener to create a new performance with the BBC Orchestra at the Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, as part of New Music Biennial ‘19. The Power And The Glory included a re-worked version of ‚Glory‘ from the Pastoral album. Later that year Gazelle Twin returned to the same London venue to present Deep England, an ensemble performance made in collaboration with the electronic drone choir, NYX. A studio album is set to be released in Autumn 2020. In 2020, Bernholz’s experimentation in electronic music production was recognised by the University of Sussex (of which she is an alumna) and subsequently the Gazelle Twin scholarship for Women in Music Technology was setup to address the under-representation of women in music technology. In addition to her ongoing projects, Bernholz often collaborates with creators in Theatre, TV and Film. 2020 and beyond will bring the release of two feature film scores, the first for a new production by Blumhouse and Amazon, the second, commissioned by the BFI, and made in collaboration with Max de Wardener.

Kit Monkman (UK): Kit is a leading and prolific innovator across screen-based art and interactive media. He directed the visually experimental UK feature Macbeth (2018), described by Peter Holland (Chair of the International Shakespeare Association) as ‘the most innovative rethinking of what it means to put Shakespeare on film for decades’, and co-directed The Knife That Killed Me (2012). As a founder of KMA, Kit has also worked as an installation artist in the interactive, public realm creating works that have dramatically transformed many iconic spaces from London’s Trafalgar Square to Shanghai’s Bund, and as a theatre and show designer with artists as diverse as Prince and DV8.


Created by: Gazelle Twin KMA Ben Eyes & the University of York Music Department Commissioned and developed by York Mediale Supported by XR Stories