John Duncan

John Duncan is an artist who has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Amsterdam, currently lives and works in Bologna (Italy). His body of work includes performance art, installations, contemporary music, video art and experimental film, often involving the extensive use of recorded sound. His music is composed mainly of recordings from shortwave radio, field recordings and voice. His events and installations are a form of existential research, often confrontational in nature. “John Duncan portrays his work as a catalyst, inciting a transmission of energy through which he seeks to compel the audience to actively participate in the process of investigation and self-discovery. His lengthy career of electroacoustic intensity and confrontational performance art events is the result of rigorous investigations into a number of arcane, metaphysical, and at times transgressive themes. Duncan is a rare artist who is totally immersed in existential research.” – Jim Haynes, The Wire


Sick of seeing unarmed people getting shot by people paid to protect them.
Glad to see news getting out of the hand s of people trying to stifle it.
Glad to see technology getting cheaper and easier to use.  More of that.


What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Good question.

How and when did you get into making music?
With a cassette tape recorder in the ‘80’s.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
In no particular order:
Ligeti piano etudes played by Fredrik Ullén
Johnny Hartman + John Coltrane
Fela Anikulapo Kuti: Zombie
Carla Bley: Amarcord Nino Rota
The Harp of King David

What do you associate with Berlin?

What’s your favourite place in your town?
My house

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

What was the last record you bought?
Don’t remember

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Good question

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
The next one

How important is technology to your creative process?
It’s essential

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
One sister, dead.  She hated it.
One brother, alive.  He hates it.

Our Favourites:

PHANTOM BROADCAST, Ensemble Phoenix Basel

Blind Date

Root (Film)

Links: | Interview with (name of the artist) by Digital in Berlin