Ambika P3, University of Westminster 14 Dec 2019 Free

Visionary philosopher Timothy Morton and experimental composer Jennifer Walshe join forces to explore the multiplicity of temporalities at the heart of being human. A new opera presented in collaboration with London Contemporary Music Festival. ​


Time. If no one asks us, we know what it is. Or at least we know what one of the different versions of it is. Deep ecological time, evolutionary time, time travel, longitude, time expansion and contraction, alternative timelines and parallel universes. Polyphasic sleep, anti-ageing creams, fertility clocks, black holes and artificial intelligence. The groups of neurons forming population clocks within our brains, the nanosecond of difference between the space-time of our feet and heads, the monitoring of every second through our devices.

Dinosaurs. And crying.

Timothy Morton and Jennifer Walshe join forces to explore the multiplicity of temporalities at the heart of being human. Everyone in the room is important – the fast-paced digital time of M.C. Schmidt and Walshe, the deep geological rhythms of Lee Patterson, the liminal eternal drones of Aine O’Dwyer. The shifting tectonic plates of Streifenjunko and Vilde&Inga. The audience, whose entropy demonstrates that time is indeed passing.

Duration: The audience is monitored by heat-sensitive cameras throughout the show. The duration of the performance is between 70 and 90 minutes, dependent on the level of entropy present in the room.
Music: Jennifer Walshe, developed in collaboration with Áine O’Dwyer, Lee Patterson, M.C. Schmidt, Eivind Lønning, Espen Reinertsen, Vilde&Inga (Inga Aas & Vilde Alnæs)
Text: Timothy Morton & Jennifer Walshe
Direction & video: Jennifer Walshe
Stage & lighting: Aedín Cosgrove
Sound engineer: Úna Monaghan

Jennifer Walshe: voice & electronics
Áine O’Dwyer: voice, harp & electronics
Lee Patterson: electronics
M.C. Schmidt: voice & electronics
Eivind Lønning: trumpet
Espen Reinertsen: saxophone
Inga Aas: double bass
Vilde Alnæs: violin

Commissioned by Borealis – en festival for eksperimentell musikk, Sonic Acts, MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues, Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, and London Contemporary Music Festival / Serpentine Galleries.

Commission supported by Arts Council Norway, Arts Council of Ireland and the Performing Arts Fund NL. Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung. Commissioned as part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


Jennifer Walshe

Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her music has been commissioned, broadcast and performed all over the world. She has been the recipient of fellowships and prizes from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York; the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm, the Internationales Musikinstitut, Darmstadt and Akademie Schloss Solitude among others. Recent projects include Aisteach, a fictional history of avant-garde music in Ireland, and EVERYTHING IS IMPORTANT, a work for voice, string quartet and film commissioned by the Arditti Quartet, which has been touring to critical acclaim.

Timothy Morton

Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He has collaborated with Björk, Jeff Bridges, Olafur Eliasson, Haim Steinbach and Pharrell Williams. He is the author of Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), eight other books and 200 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design and food. He also co-wrote and appears in Living in the Future’s Past, a film about global warming with Jeff Bridges. In 2014 Morton gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory at the University of California, Irvine.

Áine O'Dwyer

Áine O’Dwyer creates live and recorded events which embrace the broader aesthetics of sound and its relationship to environment, time, audience and structure. The notion of a holding space as-extension-of-instrument is a cornerstone of her artistic investigation and the crux of her live performances and recorded works to date: Gallarais, Beast Diaries, Sound Walks from Medjugorje, Music for Church Cleaners, Locusts and Gegenschein, and her most recent publication Poems for Play.

Lee Patterson

By using sound recording as a form of ear training, Lee Patterson has devised and performs with a selection of amplified devices and processes. Whether working live with amplification or recording within an environment, he has pioneered a range of methods to produce or uncover complex sound in unexpected places. From rock chalk to springs, from burning nuts to aquatic plants and insects, he eavesdrops upon and makes a novelty of playing objects and situations otherwise considered mute. His collaborators have included some of today’s most respected experimental musicians and filmmakers, such as Mika Vainio, Vanessa Rossetto, David Toop, Rhodri Davies and John Butcher, Greg Pope, Benedict Drew, Luke Fowler, Lucio Capece, Rie Nakajima, Angharad Davies, Phil Durrant, Keith Rowe, John Tilbury, Xavier Charles and Tetsuya Umeda. His works have featured on UK TV, BBC Radios 3, 4 and 6, Resonance FM and on radio stations worldwide. He lives and works in Prestwich, Manchester, UK.

M.C. Schmidth

M.C. Schmidt is a sound artist, video artist and member of the band Matmos (with tenuously legal husband Dr. Drew Daniel) which has enjoyed making albums and/or sharing the stage with Zeena Parkins, Robert Wilson, Anohni, Björk, Dan Deacon, So Percussion, Marshall Allen, the Kronos Quartet, Francois Bayle, snails, oatmeal and so many other people and things. He enjoys sound synthesis, digital and analogue, sampling sounds, reading out loud, playing percussion on unusual objects and the piano. At home in Baltimore he works in a record shop, and is the president of The High Zero Foundation, a collective which presents festivals of traditional music, improvised music and electro-acoustic music as well as operating a small venue that runs year-round.


Streifenjunko has been making music together since 2005, with members Espen Reinertsen (saxophone, electronics) and Eivind Lønning (trumpet, electronics) working closely together to present original compositions at more than 200 concerts around the world. They have been heard at festivals such as Densités Festival, Sonic Acts, Baignade Interdite, Meteo, Borderline, Festival Cable, KLAENG Festival, Crác Festival, Asphalt Festival, NOWnow Festival, Ultima, Oct-Loft, Rue du Nord, Hagenfesten, Punkt, Soddjazz, All Ears, KIMfest, Kongsberg Jazzfestival and Moldejazz. In 2018 they released their third album, Like Driving, which is their first to also feature electronic instruments. They often perform together in other projects as well, most notably in the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, as well as with other highly regarded artists in the fields of experimental music and art.


Vilde&Inga is a young string duo playing acoustic free improvised music, featuring violin and double bass. By exploring nontraditional approaches to the instruments, the duo greatly expands their timbre palette. Their wide horizons of colour allow the music to develop slowly and organically, yet with a keen underlying sense of compositional form. Vilde Sandve Alnæs and Inga Margrete Aas are classically trained musicians from Norway. They started to play together in 2010 and studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. In 2016 they received the Lindeman Prize for Young Musicians. Vilde&Inga tour across Norway and internationally. They have performed at Oslo Jazz Festival, Only Connect Festival of Sound, Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Vinterlyd festival, Ultima – Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, Sound Disobedience and more. Vilde&Inga’s first album, Makrofauna, was released on ECM in 2014. They released their second album, Silfr, on the Norwegian label SOFA in 2017.


Discover over 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architectural Pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas Marathons and research-led initiatives, explore our past projects and exhibitions.

View archive