ALEX CARPENTER works with temporal media to create perceptually oriented spaces and events. In addition to solo projects in sound and video, Alex Carpenter directs Music of Transparent Means, an ever-evolving experimental performance ensemble/entity which has featured as many as 21 players at one time. Alex also runs the independent label Vanished Records, and he is currently preparing his masters degree in composition for submission at the University of Adelaide. Alex's music has been broadcast on ABC FM, Three D Radio, Radio Adelaide and Triple R (Melbourne), and his video work has been seen on Rage (ABC TV).

MUSIC OF TRANSPARENT MEANS performs semi-regularly in Adelaide and enjoys a reputation as one of the city's most experimental and uncomprimisingly minimalist performance ensembles. Standing somewhere at the junction between rock, ambient and modern classical sensibilities, Music of Transparent Means has been enthusiastically received in a diverse and unlikely collection of settings, from art galleries to CD store basements, concert halls, theatres and pubs.

Since its inception in 2002, MOTM has been single-minded in upholding its belief in the inherent yet often dormant power and profundity of sound, and has consistently aimed to provide a space where this power might be "summoned" and brought into the tangible realm of experience. To this end, MOTM frequently embraces long performance duration, sonic "saturation", as well as intense repetition and volume.

The Advertiser found one MOTM event "mesmerizing", while RealTime Magazine thought the group's Melbourne debut made "an important contribution to Melbourne sound culture".


MANY THANKS TO: Luke Altmann, David Bartholomeusz, Mary Filsell, Bill Leahy, Matt Henbest, Kirsty Radestock, Scott Battersby, Pam Klaer, Leigh Carpenter, Ruth Summers, Zoe Barry, Luke Harrald.



ON DIT: Those who know you as a musician might be surprised to hear about your experiments in video. Have you been working with video for long?

ALEX CARPENTER: No, it's a fairly new medium for me. But I do see video as quite closely related to music in a way, I guess because both are "temporal" media. But the area of music video making really does produce a lot of crap, doesn't it? There's a kind of attitude that videos have to be produced for people with short attention spans or something. You see it sometimes when you watch Rage where it's often clip after clip of really fast editing and special effects, or some attempt at selling an image, and there’s no real connection with the visual material itself, or anything new you would really notice if you saw the clip for a second time. It's essentially disposable - like an ad.

OD: So we could say your videos are not part of that world.

AC: Absolutely. I don't consider the material to be disposable at all. It's actually something I want to stand back from and present with some sort of reverence. Like I try to do with sound in my music. These videos really do try to allow viewers that space to delve into the material, and let it consume them. It allows and hopefully encourages a totally different type of viewing. Like sound, video has this beautiful potential to actually introduce shifts in perception, because it takes place over the dimension of time where we have this space to really delve into things perceptually... but the material also has to allow this space, and in music videos it usually doesn't.

OD: So what can people expect to see on Sunday?

AC: A lot of the imagery was really discovered, rather than created. These are not expressions of myself or of any structural convention, they are actually more like still photos of nature, except they change over time. That is, the frame itself doesn't move - it focuses deeply on one image or event, because there is so much interest in just one image, and it is literally that image itself which draws your attention and captivates you, not any editing or special effects, which just gloss over the image and make it inaccessible.

I use a lot of close up imagery and sometimes time-lapse techniques - the image is sometimes unrecognisable but incredibly beautiful. And the way it changes over time is not predetermined, yet it is totally exposed! I don't decide to introduce this colour here or that object there. The way it develops of its own accord is far more profound than anything I could ever plan.