Purgas started from a music background from 90’s drum and bass. He was fascinated by the underground resistance in Detroit 1989 which was empowered by the black political movement with the aesthetic of a militant sonic language. This interest changed his way of thinking about urbanism. Purgas introduction to architecture was brought about by the hyper modern moment in the Detroit techno scene born out of Jeff Mills, Because of this, Purgas decided to study architecture. The musical Avant Garde and radical performance art also became an influence from his studies. The Finnish band Pansonic was another influence that he discovered around this time. Purgas was involved with DIY electronics and was fixated on the pure sound of electricity. Following this is the pure material qualities of electric sound. He later studied at the University of Westminster and was taught by Cedric Price died who was interested in psychedelic architecture. He instilled the idea in Purgas that everything he would study would be transferable in anything else. What is taught will eventually be useful and will be able to communicate through drawing and sound etc. It was in the Royal College where Purgas realised that he would not like to be an architect. The joke was that architects woking with large firms were “CAD Monkeys” and that all they would contribute to a project was the railings in a toilet.
Left the Royal College, left London and moved back to Bristol and managed to get post as curatorial assistant in Arnolfini. Here, he found himself digging into the archives. From this he was rethinking the place of experimental music. He found that within Arnolfini, there were set environments for different disciplines of work and that seemed detrimental to progressing in art. He found that the freedom he was looking for is found in the past.
Alongside being a curator for the gallery, Purgas was also making music. He was working with purist constituents of sound: sound wave and white noise. He used that with his band as a fundamental limitation. He managed to make albums out of 3 sounds. Ourdas was also interested in the history of rock bands and how often they would record on location instead of in a studio. Therefore, he found a mansion in Gloucester which was the largest gothic mansion in the country, yet was never completed due to lack of funds. Part of the appeal was the various elements that that were exposed, this made it exciting in the context that they were working in. The house was a method of imprinting on the sonics itself.
He was later invited by Tate Britain to be apart of performing architecture, looking for people trying to perform qualities of architectural spaces. The questions he asked himself was:What can we do? Where can we go? Where could we take it? The next location was a nuclear power station in Snowdonia. There was authorisation to build a massive station there in 50’s but now the space is being constantly dismantled. This arc of breakdown is due to continue until 2030. In this sense, the space has completed its life cycle. Purgas showed us the sounds he created in the space, it was a very dark and heavy sound that pulsed almost like a lament.
He was then approached by the architecture foundation “Sounding Spaces” which formed a subtext to all this spacial work. The idea of sound, space and supernatural otherness was fascinating at the time. This followed the idea that architecture is living somehow. Purgas hoped to animate the building that somehow defies logic. His theory was that everything has a fundamental frequency where everything will accumulate. This would be true with buildings, all that is required is the removal or enhancement of certain frequencies.
He was then approached by Transmedi Art who invited him to make commissions with radio broadcasting. This prompted Purgas to work with the sound of Earth and its signals, picking up historical ideas to rework or remix it. He set up improvised performance in Berlin in real time and outputted mixing desk into a van which transmitted to France then to Poland and then to concert hall. The idea was to use the atmosphere as a signal processor.
He later worked with a Turkish sound artist thinking about the ideas of metrics and imagined time structures chronicling international and biographical events. They were designing and building a physical system, working with vocalist too. They were using pure tones and sound waves that mimic what Purgas was doing electronically with the final discord of the voice.
Finally, Purgas spoke to us about his latest work that is at a very early stage which was looking at adversarial neural networks and how AI learn. He told us that multiple networks learn and cross reference information, whereas adversarial elements are competing to arrive at decisions in a competitive manner. Purgas is exploring how AI could work to extrapolate that into a compositional system. Because this is relatively uncharted territory it is difficult finding people with the skills. He now is working with the Wilkes Super computer in Cambridge. He wishes to build these systems using the Wilkes super cluster as brain.