Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
The Murder of Crows
February 17 – July 25, 2022
Matadero, Madrid

Installation view: Park Avenue Armory, New York, 2012. TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection
Photo: James Ewing/OTTO


The Murder of Crows is a large 30-minute immersive sound installation by Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller, which was commissioned by TBA21 in 2008 for the 16th Biennale of Sydney, and is here presented in collaboration with Matadero Madrid in celebration of TBA21’s twentieth anniversary.

Berlin-based, Canadian-born life and artists duo Cardiff & Miller are known for their immersive multimedia sound installations and their audio and video walks. The Murder of Crows is part of their investigations into sculptural and physical sound inspired in part by Francisco Goya's etching The Sleep of Reason Brings False Monsters, where a man is asleep on his arms and is surrounded by flying owls and bats, and in part by a grouping of crows (called murder) known to occasionally flock around one of their deads in cawing “funeral” ceremony that can last for over 24 hours. The installation consists of ninety-eight audio speakers mounted on stands, chairs, and the walls, as a minimalist flocking of speakers surrounding a small desk with a megaphone lying on its side—echoing the sleeping man in Goya’s etching and the owls and bats flying over him. Taking over the exhibition space, the speakers broadcast a morphing electronic dreamscape composition of natural and industrial sound effects, Cardiff’s voice telling a sequence of dreams, and music—from string composition to choir to marching band. The sound's juxtapositions, created by special stereophonic recordings and replay techniques, mirror the helplessness of nightmares, interweaving narrative of conflicts, violence, and loss in a world in crisis, but is also a dreamy haunted call for hope.

About the work:
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: The Murder of Crows (2008)
98-channel sound installation, speakers and stands, computer and program, gramophone horn speaker, table, fifty-five chairs
Duration: 30 minutes
Overall dimensions variable
Commissioned by TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary for the 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008)
TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection
The Murder of Crows
February 17- July 25, 2022
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller
Nave 0, Matadero Madrid
February 16, 7 p.m.
Janet Cardiff

In conversation with Estrella de Diego (Professor at the Universidad Complutense)
Introduced by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza (TBA21 founder)
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid
Read More
Podcast here

February 19, 12:30 p.m.
TBA21 Commissions: A Conversation

Janet Cardiff, Ragnar Kjartansson, Daniela Zyman (TBA21 Artistic Director), and Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza
Nave 17, Matadero Madrid
Video here