Ms Jane Grant

Ms Jane Grant

Associate Professor (Reader) in Visual Arts

School of Art and Media (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


Jane Grant is an artist and academic. Her collaborative work has resulted in award winning projects including, The Fragmented Orchestra with John Matthias and Nick Ryan which was winner of the PRSF New MusicAward, 2008 and received an Honorary Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2009. The Fragmented Orchestra was exhibited at FACT and 23 sites across the UK including The National Portrait Gallery, the Roundhouse inLondon, the Bronte Museum, and Kielder Observatory. Her recent work includes Soft Moon and Leaving Earth; both films draw upon astrophysics and science fiction. Her sonic artwork Ghost was premiered at ISEA Istanbul 2011. In this work the temporal, topological networks and pathways of the cortex are explored in conjunction brain hallucination or ‘sonic ghosts’. Plasticity,a collaborative work with John Matthias, Kin and Nick Ryan was recently exhibited at the BFI as part of the onedotzero festival (2011), Google CampusLondon (2012) and HWK, Institute for Advanced Study in Germany (2012). Jane is currently working on Heliosphere, a large-scale project about the ionosphere as the interface between the Earth and the Sun, a multi-screen film, Orbital regarding the interaction of the atmosphere of the Earth and its influence in looking into space and a series of black pigment and graphite drawings that depict the formation of the early planetary systems.

Jane writes about noise,science and art and the mutability of matter. Selected recent papers and articles are:

Soft Moon: matter and mutability - an artistic exploration of narratives and histories of the Earth-Moon System (2013). Between one and zero: noise, ghosts and plasticity (2013), Plasticities and Ghosts: Relationships between stimulus and memory in noisy networks, with John Matthias (2013). Between signal and noise: potency, potentiality and the uncertain moment, (2012), Matter and mutability: presence and affect in other worlds (2012), Hearing things: inside outness and ‘sonic ghosts’ (2011). Sound navigations: distances, proximities and neural fields with John Matthias and Matt Wade (2011), Neural Ghosts and the focus of attention (2011). Noisy signals:  ghosts, spikes and fields of emergence (2011).


With John Matthias, Jane also co-directs the NeuroArts  an international series of symposia that brings together artists, scientists and philosophers to share ideas and present and their work. NeuroArts an interdisciplinary exploration and interrogation of the field, an exchange of ideas between artists, writers,experimenters and theoreticians. Rather than examining artistic practice to illustrate and understand concepts in Brain research, NeuroArts emphasizes how research into perception and cognition are influencing artistic and cultural practice. These ideas are multi-scale; from the level of the cell to the small cellular network  - up to the scale of interacting humans and human-environmental interaction.

Jane is Associate Professor (Reader) in Digital Arts atPlymouth University, co-director of the research group art and sound andPrinciple Supervisor in the Planetary Collegium, CAiiA-Node.




Teaching interests

I am module leader of the Collaborative Practice Module for the Media Arts BA.This module places creativity at the core of collaboration alongside the facilitation of new ideas and practices. I invite local and national creative, commercial institutions to ‘pitch’ proposals to our students and we have developed many strong and on-going relationships with local and national companies and organizations. I have written many modules with particular emphasis on the integration of theory and practice, developing strategies in order to convey the excitement that historical, contemporary context and critical rigor lends practice. I also headed the Sonic Arts BA course development and I have used many of the new teaching and assessment strategies developed for this course on the Media Arts BA Programme. As Team Leader for the development of the new Sonic Arts BA, I developed educational strategies for delivery and assessment, which included an integrated approach to knowledge dissemination, focused and fluid assessment criteria across each stage andacross module delivery and professional development strategies. I also teach on the Dissertation Module in Media Arts, and many of the practice based modules.

 I am Principal Supervisor, CiiA Node in the Planetary Collegium, the international platform forresearch in art, technology and consciousness, with its hub based in the University of Plymouth. Its president is Roy Ascott.

Research interests

Ghost (2011)

Ghost is an 8 channel sound installation premiered at ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts and the Istanbul Biennial in 2011. At the heart of Ghost is a network of neurons embedded with 'sonic memory'. 'Consciousness as attention to memory' is a term that neuroscientist Eugene Izhikevich uses to describe a phenomena in which the cortex re-lives or re-visits a particular pattern of neural activity in the absence of sensory information. The model brain or cortex, deprived of stimulation journeys around its own temporal architectures conjuring past 'experiences' or 'memories', pulling them into the present. Evidence that these pathways continue to be be re-visited once sensory stimulation occurs again is compelling. The neural code reconfigures the internal embedded sounds with externally stimulated sound causing a temporal and sonic overlapping of the neural past with the neural present, a rupture in the flow of sensory and endogenous information. When the external sound fail to reach a volume threshold the systems journeys around its own neuronal pathways re-visiting older established routes using its 'memory' as buoyancy when the external sounds die away. I imagined these events as 'sonic ghosts' a term I have used to describe the buffering up of the neural with the neural present.

People involved with Ghost: Tim Hodgson, John Matthias. Ghost was supported by Plymouth University, Bowers and Wilkins, Cycling '74.

Soft Moon (2010)

Computer Generated film, double wide screen projection, sound, 7 minutes.

This film was made with Kin in London. It explores the reciprocal attraction of two planetary sphere, the forming earth and moon according to an older and no longer accurate theory formulated by GH Darwin. Soft Moon was made with the intention of exploring through sound and images, the formation of the Earth-Moon system. This included researching both contemporary and historical theories of the formation of the Universe and the Solar System. These theories included scientific work but also literary with particular emphasis on the work of Italo Calvino and Stanislaw Lem. These science fiction novels are concerned with how humans view their place within the cosmos, how we conceptually negotiate immensity. 

The Fragmented Orchestra (2008) with John Matthias and Nick Ryan.

Distributed, neuronal-networked, sound installation.

The Fragmented Orchestra combines conceptually simple but technically precise elements (microphone, speaker, communicator, and “neuron”) into an elegant, geographically-distributed network structure. The result is a vast musical brain, which promises to generate pieces that touch upon extraordinarily disparate aspects of music and culture, including audience participation, sampling as instrument, endogenous composition, aesthetics of technology, and more. Among the most intriguing of these many resonances is the way in which The Fragmented Orchestra establishes an audible analogy between the brain and the Internet, such that the music produced becomes an artifact of their parallel structures. This composition renders in sound the sense in which the internet is already a singular mind, the collective compositional creativity of the crowd singing in one voice.’

Aden Evens author of Sound Ideas Music, Machines and Experience.

The Fragmented Orchestra is a huge distributed musical structure modelled on the firing of the human brain's neurons.Twenty-four sites around the UK were connected to each other to form a “neural”network. The sonic information captured at these sites is transmitted over the internet, causing other sites to “fire”.

The Fragmented Orchestra was winner of the 2008 PRS Foundation’s New Music Award, the most prestigious award for new music in the UK and likened as the Turner Prize for music. It is also the recipient of an Honoury Mention at Prix Ars Electronica 2009.

 This distributed neuronal instrument was exhibited at FACT in Liverpool, National Portrait Gallery, Goodison Park Everton Football Club, Bronte Museum, Institute ofPsychiatry,the Roundhouseand many other sites across the UK.

 People involved with The Fragmented Orchestra: Tim Hodgson, Kin, Daniel Jones,University of Plymouth, Nick Outram.

Leaving Earth (2010)

Digital video, sound, 18 minutes.

In Leaving Earth, a static shot of a planet or moon is shown, sometimes obscured by cloud and often accompanied by a deep blue satellite object. There is a slight zoom, as if we are approaching the planetary object. However, this zoom is almost imperceptible and prolongs our longing or trepidation regarding the destination. 

The work is influenced by our mediated vision of the world and our place in the universe, in that we can ‘see’ much, much further than we will ever physically travel. The sound is both metallicand breath-like, a hypnotic drone which echoes the sound scores of the interior of spaceships in science-fiction films. 

 Sound mastering by Neil Grant.

Grants & contracts

Sponsorship for Ghost : Bowers and Wilkins and Cycling '74, 2011.

I have received grants and awards for the collaborative work The Fragmented Orchestra with John Matthias and Nick Ryan from the following:

PRS Foundation for Music, New Music Award, 2008, the most financially significant award for music in the UK and likened to the Turner Prize for Music.

Prix Ars Electronica 2009, Honorary Mention, Hybrid Arts Category.

WellcomeTrust, Engaging People Award, 2009.

Arts Council of England, 2008.

University of Plymouth, 2008, and 2009.

 Also sponsorship for The Fragmented Orchestra from:


Bowers and Wilkins



Be Broadband




 Individual awards have included:

AHRC, Principle Investigator, Threshold - Merging the Human Voice with Neurological Time Patterns. Awarded Nov. 2006.           

British Council Travel Award for Aufsteigen.

Arts Council Award for film Dogs in Cars, Waiting.

Sponsorship, Sony, for Still, solo exhibition.

University of Plymouth for Soft Moon, 2010.

For the collaborative project developing the Neurogranular Sampler with John Matthias, Kin, Tim Hodgson, Eduardo Miranda, Proof of Concept Award, University of Plymouth.

Creative practice & artistic projects

Ghost, premiered at ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts) Istanbul, Parallel Programme, Istanbul Biennial, 2011.

Solo exhibitions: Leaving Earth at Peninsula Arts Gallery, Universityof Plymouth, Memento Mori , at Spacex Gallery, Still at Chapter, Cardiff, Aufstiegen site specific work in Germany.

Selected group exhibitions: Multichannel at Artsway, Just World Order at Artsway, SANExpo, Sonic Arts Network. Cardiff Art in Time, international exhibition focused on Electronic Art, Cardiff. Screen, Dogs in Cars, Waiting selected exhibition of national and international artists and filmmakers, Forest of Dean. Newyln Gallery, Walsall Museum and Arts Gallery and ISEA, Liverpool.

The Fragmented Orchestra was exhibited at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool and 23 sites across the UK including:

Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, Liverpool

Watershed, Bristol

Landscove C of E Primary School

National Portrait Gallery, London

Newlyn Art Gallery, Cornwall

Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

Bronte Parsonage Museum, Yorkshire

Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast

Roundhouse, London

Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

St Andrews Church, Fulham Fields, London

Institute of  Psychiatry, Kings College, London

Centre for Alternative Technology, Macyhnlleth, Wales

Verbal Arts Centre, Belfast

The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow

Kielder Observatory, Black Fell, Northumberland

Blueprint Studios, Manchester

Rochelle School, London

Stephen Lawrence Centre, London

Kiosk,West Pier, Brighton

Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, Scotland

Research groups

  • art + sound
  • Centre for Media, Art & Design Research (MADr)
  • i-DAT (Institute of Digital Art & Technology)
  • Land/Water and the Visual Arts
  • Planetary Collegium

                                        Selected Publications/Reviews:

ShiftingTopographies, Sound and The Fragmented Orchestra, Grant, Matthias in Spatialities, forthcoming, edited by Judith Rugg, Intellect Books, 2011.

Matter and Mutability: presence and affect in other worlds, Jane Grant, Transcultural Tendencies, Transmedial Transactions, SIVA, Shanghai, 2011. 

Neural Ghosts and the Focus of Attention, Jane Grant, at NeuroArts, Plymouth University, Feb, 2011 and ISEA Istanbul, Sept. 2011.

Noise: networks, sensation, experience, Jane Grant, in Making Reality Really Real, November, 2010, TEKS, Norway.

Review for Leonardo online, The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music, March 2010.

Leaving Earth, Jane Grant, catalogue accompanying exhibition, with essays from Professor Liz Wells, Professor Arthur I. Miller, Dr. Ian Crawford, Dr. Katherine Joy, May 2010, published by University of Plymouth Press, 2010.

We are the real-time experiment – TWENTY YEARS OF FACT – 1989 - 2009, entry, The Fragmented Orchestra, Liverpool University Press, 2009.

The Fragmented Orchestra, Jones, Grant, Matthias, Hodgson, Ryan, Outram, NIME, New Interfaces for Musical Expression 2009, Pittsburgh, USA, June 2009.

The Sound of Music, interview and feature on AHRC grant, PODIUM, AHRC, Winter, 2008.

The Fragmented Orchestra, Grant, Matthias, Ryan, in HUMAN FUTURES, Art in the Age of Uncertainty, edited Andy Miah, Liverpool University Press, 2008,

Translating Consciousness into Music,Grant, Matthias, Ryan, in New Notes, Dec. 2008.

Shock of the New, The Fragmented Orchestra, Euan Ferguson, Observer, Feb. 2009.


Selected reviews of The Fragmented Orchestra in:

Guardian, Dec. 2008.

Dazed and Confused, Nov. 2008.

The Wire, Jan. 2009.


Selected Online Reviews of The Fragmented Orchestra in:

BBC News, April, 2008,

The Fragmented Orchestra, Rhizome review, Sept. 2009,

Arts Council Online review,

HEARING THINKING, Grant, Matthias, Hodgson, Miranda, in EvoMusArt, conference proceedings, Springer Verlag, 2009.

Just World Order, catalogue accompanying exhibition, essay by Peter Bonnell, July 2008.

Still, catalogue accompanying solo exhibition, essay by Dr. Emma Posey, 1998.

Entry in The Nose Book, Representations of the Nose in Literature and the Arts, ed. De Riijke, Ostermark-Johansen, Thomas, published Middlesex University Press, 2001.

Kissing the Dust, catalogue accompanying exhibition, essay by Simon Grennan, 1997.

Memento Mori,catalogue with essay by Geoff Cox, accompanying solo exhibition, 1995.

Review of Kissing the Dust, Robert Clark, Guardian.

Review of solo exhibition, Memento Mori, in Museum Journal.


Reports & invited lectures

            Selected Lectures:

Leaving Earth,  Land/Water Symposium 2010, Land and the Metaphysical, University of Plymouth, July, 2010.

The Fragmented Orchestra, with John Matthias, Aesthetics in a Time of Emergency: Beyond the Relational Aesthetic Paradigm, University of  Plymouth, June, 2010.

Leaving Earth, artists talk, Peninsula Arts Gallery, University of Plymouth, May 2010.

The Fragmented Orchestra, Royal Observatory Greenwich, Festival of Time, with John Matthias, Nov. 2009.

The Fragmented Orchestra,for The Whitehead Lectures, with John Matthias, Goldsmiths College, London, Oct. 2009.

The Fragmented Orchestra, at NIME 2009, New Interfaces for Musical Expression, with Daniel Jones, Pittsburgh, USA, June 2009.

Critical Spatial Practices, seminar, with John Matthias, RIBA, London, June, 2009.

Hearing Thinking, EvoMusArt, Naples, March 2008.

Wellcome Trust, with John Matthias and Nick Ryan, March 2009.

Artists Breakfast with Daniel Glaser, David Toop and Robert Worby, FACT and FACT TV, Dec. 2008.

The Fragmented Orchestra, at the Voices Festival, with John Matthias, March 2009.

Big Screen,presentation The Fragmented Orchestra, with John Matthias, Bristol, March 2009.

Radio 3 interview, Music Matters – Music and the Brain, special edition, 2008.

Exploring Consciousness Symposium, lecture, University of Plymouth, Oct. 2008.

Time Space Compression,conference organised by b10c and Chapter, 1999.


Additional information