Somerset House Studios

Salvage Rhythms: Sam Williams & Roly Porter

21 Jan 2020

Sam Williams & Roly Porter present Salvage Rhythms: a new multimedia commission for Somerset House Studios.

Salvage Rhythms, a new commission by visual artist and Studios resident Sam Williams and musician Roly Porter, is the outcome of a collaboration developed in residence at Somerset House Studios. Comprising of two independent works, Salvage Rhythms exists as one part live performance, one part film; both drawing upon systems of archaeology, mycelial networks, composting and non-human relationships to feed into the wider themes of Williams' Latent Commons, an overarching and ongoing research project examining multispecies entanglements to explore new possibilities for survival and connection in this time of political and environmental precarity.

Salvage Rhythms (live performance), AGM 2019. Photo by Sotiris Gonis. 

The multidisciplinary spirit of Latent Commons' research - a project encompassing performance, film, text, collage and drawing - becomes evident in both of Salvage Rhythms' pieces. Premiered at AGM 2019, Williams and Porter presented the work's first half, a live assemblage of sound and movement with performers Karen Callaghan, Samir Kennedy and Leah Marojevic; each using their bodies to trigger a sonic collage through a series of contact microphones positioned beneath the performance space.

"The work places bodies as entangled things enacting a sequence of melodic movements together and apart. Moving between vertical and horizontal planes in a way that only something that is attempting to grow can do. The group of performers […] bind, contorting into one. […] What I feel Williams to be suggesting is that our own tolerance to ourselves is dependent on our interconnections. Our ability to grow achieved through one’s self in relation to others."

Joshua Leon – FAD Magazine

Salvage Rhythms (live performance), AGM 2019. Photo by Sotiris Gonis.

Listen to Sam Williams and Roly Porter discuss Salvage Rhythms' live performance for Somerset House Studios' podcast series:

Now for Gallery 31 exhibition I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now, the artist duo present Salvage Rhythm's accompanying second half; a new film work picking up where their AGM performance left off, collaging together original and found footage, animation and photography to create a dense and decaying compost of human and non-human entanglement.

Salvage Rhythms (trailer), 2020. Sam Williams & Roly Porter

Salvage Rhythms is screened as part of I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now, running 23 Jan - 31 May. A new permanent exhibition space dedicated to profiling the Somerset House Studios community and work developed through its residencies, Gallery 31 is free to visit and open daily. Salvage Rhythms is supported by The Adonyeva Foundation.

Salvage Rhythms (film still), 2019. Image: Sam Williams


Sam Williams is a visual artist and filmmaker working across moving image, installation and performance. His research is currently focused on how we can look at multi species entanglements, mycelial networks, ecological systems and folk mythologies to produce ideas for future ways of living.

Roly Porter is a composer and sound designer working in electronic music for installation, performance, film and game. His work is an attempt to combine sound design, the aggression of sound system music and the compositional structure and instrumentation of classical music.