‘Magneto Mori: Vienna’ wins 2020 Phonurgia Nova Award


I’m very proud to say that ‘Magneto Mori: Vienna’ was announced as the winner of the Sound Art category in this year’s Phonurgia Nova Awards – an international competition for radio art and field recording based sound works. Over four days the jury listens to and deliberates over the shortlisted works at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, along with an audience of listeners from the public. The piece was originally commissioned by Kunstradio in Austria for national broadcaster ORF Ö1. In her speech, the French critic Alexandre Castant said:

“This cubist and fragmentary portrait of the city of Vienna hides another, astounding one. In order to create Magneto Mori: Vienna, Mark Vernon recorded sounds on magnetic tapes which he then “buried” so that they would deteriorate, then, once they were “degraded”, he “cleaned” them and then “used” them for this work. The result is a new way of listening: the erosion of sound time is thus accelerated, simulated, amplified and brought to life. From then on, the listener, instructed in such a method of sound fabrication, re-reads the title of the work in a different way… Magneto Mori: Vienna… As in reference to the medieval “Memento Mori” which means “Remember that you are going to die”… And this portrait of Vienna by Mark Vernon then becomes another world: an archaeology of the city as well as of the sound device, the transformation of space into time and vice versa, a story of ghosts in the heart of Europe. Sumptuous.”