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Ultima 2024: Advert

Advert is an exploration of the self in an increasingly tribalist society.

NODE / Brian Cliff Olguin / Ultima, Decoder Ensemble, Robin Clewley


In this hard-hitting performance, Laura Bowler and the Decoder Ensemble summon the power to push back against social constraints and advertise identity on your own terms.


  • Decoder Ensemble
  • Laura Bowler (composition and voice)
  • Julia Rehme (tattoo artist)


The British composer and vocalist presents several mixed-media autobiographical "adverts". These consist of video combined with original text by Bowler and Sam Redway, as well as quotes on identity, extremism and being female, from writers such as Judith Butler, Amy Chua and Donna Haraway. The adverts waver between truth and fiction, extreme openness and fragmented memories. Bowler dramatises her own personal struggles and vulnerability by boxing with the musicians, tapdancing and getting a tattoo on stage.

Laura Bowler specialises in music-theatre, multidisciplinary work and opera. In their performance, t he six members of the German-based Decoder Ensemble fuse electronic and acoustic music, the newest digital technologies and intense physicality.

The musical texture of Advert is scarred by physical combat and the tattooist’s needle. Prepare for a sonic workout that literally draws blood.

In collaboration with the Norwegian Academy of Music. With the friendly support of Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and the Creative Europe programme of the European Union as part of Sounds Now.

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Published: Jun 20, 2024 — Last updated: Jun 21, 2024