Mark Fell aka Sensate Focus is a multidisciplinary artist based in Sheffield. Initially best known for his work together with Mat Steel in the duo SND, he currently keeps a busy schedule primarily with the performance of his seminal work, Multistability.
After studying experimental film and video art at the local polytechnic, Mark reverted to earlier interests in computational technology, music, and synthetic sound. In 1998 he initiated a series of critically acclaimed releases, featuring both collaborative and solo works on labels including Mille Plateaux, Line, Editions Mego, Raster-Noton, and Alku. Although working in electronic and techno music traditions, Mark’s practice has become increasingly informed by non-European musics. This is evident in two recent linked works, Multistablity and UL8, that explore a number of unfamiliar timing and tuning systems. Uncut magazine called these “completely mind-blowing” while the Wire reacted with “amazing”.
In early 2012, Fell released his Sensate Focus project, also the name of his new imprint – distributed through Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego label – and the title of the first release, a two-track 12". The project reveals a side of Fell that, while previously implied, was never fully shown to date. Employing a sensual warmth worthy of the name as well as the familiar energy of dance music, the exploratory compositions of Sensate Focus layer beat patterns with funk and flair, evoking an undeniable body response while making decades-old ideas of house and techno sound brand new.
In addition to recorded works, Mark also produces installation pieces, often using multispatial speaker technologies and light. His work in this area is characterized by “non illusion based” approaches to surround-sound environments, a methodology that became prominent in his work when commissioned by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) to collaborate with Roc Jiménez de Cisneros (aka Evol) in 2008. The project saw the two artists develop a 48-speaker piece that rejected complex, three-dimensional panning systems in favour of spatially static, synthetic sound.
Critically, Mark’s work is informed by Western philosophy, especially the writings of Heidegger and Wittgenstein.