Mr Sands is falling. His eyes have already arrived at ground level from the walkway seven stories up. His vertigo began beneath the city. He watches the swarm through many electronic eyes, monitoring movement between and below as he begins to slide. He falls upwards to the surface, his eyes already there.

Mr Sands is setting fires. Computer games make his stomach swell and lurch as he plunges through darkness in pursuit of a phantom. The hands he sees are not his and yet he controls them. He reaches for a match to spread his worry. Meanwhile, his double sits before the screen as the room bursts into flame. He watches as Sands advances through two worlds and multiple lives. As Sands descends to the next level he imagines falling between his two selves. There is no ground.

Vertigo Rising is a multimedia installation where the viewer turns player in an attempt to unravel the case of the pyromaniac Mr Sands. Told from two contrasting vertigo-inducing viewpoints, and using an array of materials (including found footage, automated sound, text, performance and one–off events), the installation addresses themes of isolation, entrapment, disorientation and disconnection. By presenting the materials as clues and guided by an electronic female voice narrator, the viewer is invited to take on the role of player and piece the unravelling layers of evidence together.


Vertigo Rising will include a parallel text by Nicky Coutts.



John Hughes and Liz Murray are London based artists. Hughes’ sound works take the form of installations in transitory spaces: staircases, shopping centres, passageways, and elevators. He records narratives that exist in everyday city life, which draw on the materiality of the human voice. Recent work has been shown in The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery (2012) and at the Wigmore Hall (2015). Hughes is currently studying for an M.A. in Contemporary Poetics at Birkbeck College, London where he is researching the materiality of pre-digital objects. He is founder and co-editor of Spiralbound, an artists publishing project.


Liz Murray works with film, photography, performance and installation. Recent shows include ‘Connecting Worlds’ for Drawing Room Projects, London (2014) and ‘Factory’ at Format International Photography Festival, Derby (2013). Murray begins her PhD studies this year, ‘On Fire and Of Screen’.


Image: Vertigo Rising
Liz Murray & John Hughes