Richard Crow

Research project: Re-visiting The Institution of Rot Archive as a sound practice


This practice-based research takes the documents and performance remains of the Institution of Rot*, as its point of departure in the critical investigation of the aesthetics of noise.

I will examine how the terms destruction and decay have been applied in this context to describe both processes of corruption and disintegration in sound.

How can the terms ‘noise' and ‘decay' converge into an investigation of material remains? How might their physical, technological, and psychological transformation be understood as an aesthetic of destruction?

The over-arching approach of this PhD project is to explore the creative use of archival sources as noise/sound practice. I will create a new body of sound works including studio re-enactment of live performances and sound collages. The main outcomes will be the production of a portfolio of new recordings and a critical commentary that reflects on materiality and different kinds of impermanence in the field of music and performance, looking in particular at the intersection of noise, experimental music and visual art.

* a space dedicated to performance, music improvisation and site-specific events, founded in 1992 by artist Richard Crow)

  • Research degree: Practice-based PhD
  • Title of project: Re-visiting The Institution of Rot Archive as a sound practice
  • Research supervisor: Dr Leah Kardos
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Dean Kenning


My work as an inter-disciplinary artist transverses multi-media platforms including sound, experimental film and video, installation, and live performance. I explore sound and noise for its disruptive, visceral and affective qualities and its psycho-physical implications for the listener. My solo and collaborative performances have consisted of highly conceptualized interventions into base materiality, investigations of alternative systems of organisation and research into a certain material decadence, most notably with the cult project The Institution of Rot, which I co-founded in 1992. I have exhibited and performed extensively with recent performances and screenings at Fonoteca Nacional de Mexico (Mexico City), Café Oto (London), Visconti Studio (Kingston University), The Horse Hospital (London), Iklectik (London), Savvy Contemporary (Berlin), Yeltsin Centre (Yekaterinburg). I have published many sound works on my own label Institution of Rot as well as Paradigm Discs, Touch, Chocolate Monk, Musica Dispersa Records, Nostalgie De La Boue, Psych.KG. Find out more:

Areas of research interest

  • Noise
  • Experimental Music
  • Abjection
  • Medical sound
  • Affective archives
  • Performance
  • Industrial Music
  • Contemporary art
  • Outsider art
  • Destruction in art


  • Studies in Theory and Practice of Electro-acoustic and Experimental music. City Literary Institute, London
  • MA Sonic Art, Middlesex University
  • CerTESOL, Trinity College, London

Funding or awards received

  • Emergency Response Funds, Arts Council England
  • Artist Research Grant, Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick
  • Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England
  • Professional Preparation Master's scheme, AHRC
  • Oppenheim - John Downes Memorial Awards, London
  • Millennium Awards, Peabody Trust, London
  • Grants to Artists (Exhibition Funding), British Council
  • Go Travel Grant (Moscow), London Arts


Crow, Richard, 2011. "The Institution of Rot", in OEI, # 53-54 (Dokument, Dispositiv, Deskription, Diskurs), OEI, Stockholm (prepared pages, archival material, documentation).

Crow, Richard, 2010, "Radio Signal Log - Imaginary hospital radios tuned into the delirium of reception, "Radio Signal Log - Notes "Interferences" Towards a Wahnbildungsarbeit", Cut and Splice: Transmission, ed by Sound Threshold (Daniela Cascella & Lucia Farinati), Sound & Music, London, 2010. pp 150-151 (artist's graphic score/text collage)

Crow, RichardCouldry, Nick, 2008. "Recourses to the Rotten" in /seconds, issue 8 (On Curating, Mad Love, Orphan Letters, Open Archives) 4/2008.

Crow, Richard, 2003. "Towards an Imaginary Hospital Radio – Some Notes from a Work in Progress", in Soundworks - For Those Who Have Ears, Art Trail Publications, Cork, Republic of Ireland, pp 48-51(artist's soundwork, text and page works) (Audio CD/

Crow. 1992. "From The Institute of Rot", Modern Writing, # 3, 1992, Melbourne (photographic reproduction of mixed media work).

Conference papers

Organiser/Keynote speaker, A Rotten Corpus - Institution of Rot (1993-2013), symposium, Goldsmiths University, London, 2013.

To the Master of all Noises or transmitting the sound of the Institution of Rot (Presentation & sound intervention), Daniel Paul Schreber: The Modern Experience and the Performance of Paranoia, The Dresden Hygiene Museum and Gedenkstätte Pirna-Sonnenstein, Pirna, organised by Gal Hertz and Anton Pluschke, 2011.

The Relationship between Animals and Artists and the Construction of Aesthetics, Lecture, as part of Animal Aesthetics, Kungl. Konsthögskolan (Royal Institute of Art), Stockholm, 2011.