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Open Music Archive is a collaborative initiative to source, digitise and distribute out of copyright sound recordings. The archive website is currently under construction and will be open for anyone to use, edit and contribute to.

Open Music Archive want to engage in future collaborations and distributive projects.

Open Congress, Tate Britain

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Open Music Archive presented at Open Congress (Tate Britain 7th-8th October 2005)

Open Congress was Inspired by Free Software: software that challenges conventional practices of authorship, ownership and distribution. The innovative congress explored these implications for art, visual culture and cultural production in general. This was the Open Music Archive contribution to the open congress wiki:

We are currently working on a project researching and collecting music that has fallen out of copyright and is now in the public domain. This music will be distributed freely through a website (under construction).

For Open Congress, Ben will play a short DJ set of music made entirely of samples of the collected recordings, mainly sourced from 1920s 78rpm records. An accompanying slideshow will uncover the process of tracking this material.

Open Congress performance images

Tate Online Events Archive (video of the performance will be available here shortly)

Listen to an excerpt of Ben White's live performance: [MP3 (5.3MB)] | [Ogg Vorbis (3.7MB)]

Screen Tests, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

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For British Art Show 6 Eileen Simpson and Ben White were invited to develop ‘Screen Tests’ with artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings. Using tracks sourced from the Open Music Archive, Ben White created the soundtrack for Screen Tests and performed the soundtrack live as part of the BAS6 launch at BALTIC. Further live performances are scheduled for Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol.

Open Music Archive presents an Evening of Free Music and Films’

Our new project ‘Open Music Archive’ exists to make it possible for artists and others to re-use artwork and the archive material that it was created from. We want people to be able to use and re-use artwork as material for future creative exchanges and to help to enrich rather than deplete the public domain.

For some time we have been working with ideas and works which exist in film and sound archives. We have been researching out-of-copyright material from which we have made new music and artist films and a website ( Our intention is to release the source material and our new artwork into the public domain by performing live at My Goodniss vintage clothes shop in the Northern Quarter. All new artworks presented at the event will become in perpetuity, a legally protected creative resource.

We are going to put on a night of music and visuals in a vintage clothes shop in the Northern Quarter. The event relates to the Screen Tests showing at British Art Show 6 (29th Jan-April 2006).