ELECTRA develops projects that look to artistic and cultural networks and concerns beyond the restrictions of disciplines and venues. It operates as a contemporary art agency whose wide-ranging activities span commissions, facilitations and production in addition to its curatorial and educational roles. ELECTRA's approach is collaborative and adaptive, combining the interdisciplinary and open approach of self-organised activities with an international ambition. The London-based organisation was founded in 2003 by curator Lina Dzuverovic and Anne Hilde Neset, deputy editor of modern music magazine The Wire, who were joined in 2004 by Irene Revel.
Dzuverovic and Neset first began working together in the late 1990s, with a series of events, entitled Interference, that moved between art, avant-music and performance, and that responded to the need for forums other than the exhibition context. Interference also revealed a gender imbalance within the sound art and the experimental music community, and in 2001 the two organisers initiated a project entitled Her Noise, which aimed to uncover lesser-known female artists from within this lineage. The project began with the collation of an archive of video interviews with practitioners of sound and performance, including figures from punk, noise, electronica and the riot grrrl movement. Subsequently it became a platform from which to commission new artworks and performances, resulting in the formation of ELECTRA.
As a network of people from different disciplines, and as a network of ideological concerns, Her Noise has continued to operate at the core of ELECTRA. The project formed the basis, for instance, of an exhibition and event programme in 2005, held jointly by the South London Gallery and Tate Modern; which included commissions by Kim Gordon and Jutta Koether, Kaffe Matthews, Hayley Newman, Emma Hedditch, and Marina Rosenfeld; and which generated an archive that has since toured internationally. The use of sound and performance to investigate social relations, and as inspirations for action and participation, runs through several of ELECTRA's subsequent projects, themes that are developed in the organisation's commitment to certain practitioners and through ongoing research.
ELECTRA's Nought to Sixty project features the Macroprosopus Dance Hall Band, founded by noise musicians Maya-Victoria Kjellstrand and Frances May Morgan (see opposite page). The project highlights ELECTRA's strategy of facilitation and collaboration, and forms part of a wider narrative around the presence of sound and experimental music within an art environment.