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Electra & OTO Projects Present: BOB OSTERTAG

Saturday 21 July, 2-4 pm
Tickets £3, to reserve a place, please email

3rd Floor Shacklewell Studios
18 Shacklewell Lane
London E8 2EZ UK

The practice of composer, activist, historian and journalist Bob Ostertag has in its diverse forms and expressions continuously returned to the common ground and friction between music, politics, people and machines. It is a set of connections explored in What is 'Live': The Meaning of Music in a Digital World, a talk in which Ostertag will speak about his experimentations with sampling, tape manipulation, and electronic custom made instruments, as well as his research and political activism.

Over the last twenty years, Ostertag has built up a mode of working that at once is remarkably diverse whilst at the same time maintaining a strong sense of continuity. From his early work in New York in the late 1970s, and his collaborations with avant-garde composers John Zorn and Fred Frith, metal star Mike Patton and film maker Pierre Hébert to mention a few, to his activist work in South America in the 1980s and beyond, to his prolific writing and publishing, there is a continued desire to create what Ostertag calls 'a continuous flow'.

Ostertag's talk at Electra, which will emerge from thoughts on his practice and how it might be situated in relation to other people and apparatuses, is the latest chapter in an ongoing collaboration between Electra and OTO projects, a series of workshops, discussions and screenings which has brought together contributions by Charlemagne Palestine, Ikue Mori and Ghédalia Tazartès.

The talk will be followed by a performance with Bob Ostertag and Cedric Stevens at Café Oto at 8 PM, further information and tickets available here.

Ostertag's talk and performance in London is part of a wider Europe tour, including a 2 day workshop at Steim in Amsterdam.

About Bob Ostertag
Born in Albuquerque in 1957, Bob Ostertag dropped out of the Oberlin Conservatory after two years, and has eschewed working within the confines of academic music ever since. Instead, he has worked with a radically diverse range of collaborators: avant-garde composers John Zorn and Fred Frith, heavy metal star Mike Patton, cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, jazz composer and musician Anthony Braxton, dyke punk rocker Lynn Breedlove, performance artist Justin Vivian Bond, film maker Pierre Hébert, and more. Ostertag settled in New York City in 1978 and immersed himself in the emerging 'downtown' music scene of the period. He left music at the end of the 1970s to work in Central America, and became an expert on the region. His writings have been published in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and he has lectured on the topic at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Rutgers, and many other universities. In 1988 he relocated to San Francisco and resumed his musical activity. Published works include: Creative Life: Art, Politics, People, Machines (University of Illinois Press, 2009), People's Movements, People's Press : The Journalism of Social Justice Movements (Boston: Beacon Press, 2006), The Yes Men: The True Story of the End of the World Trade Organization (New York: Disinformation Press, 2004).

Image credit: Bob Ostertag, courtesy of the artist