CP1919: Sweeping Sun White & Sweeping Sun Black
Digital Audiovisual
Production: Pace Verso
Client: Peter Saville, Stephen Morris & the Joy Division Archive

During the COVID lockdown of 2020 we began to look back with Peter at the 3D computer sculpture we created for his book cover “Designed by Peter Saville” in 2003, to explore how it could be developed further. As we started to experiment with the transition of the light source many equally interesting variations were revealed and it became clear that the only way to really appreciate the piece fully would be through an animation.

Once the visual piece was completed it was essential for this added movement to be accompanied by sound. As the artwork was a new interpretation it was important that the sound should be also, so Peter approached Stephen Morris who went on to compose what would become the perfect counterpart. The final result sees both the sound and visuals designed to loop seamlessly so that it can be left to play indefinitely with no apparent beginning and end.

The advent of the NFT means that there is now a way for artwork which resides in the digital world to be sold and collected in the same way as physical artwork, and as CP1919 in its original form has always existed electronically it made perfect sense for it to be released in this way.

The official details are as follows…

“The CP1919 project takes its title from the name of the original pulse of the collapsed star that Peter Saville rendered visually on the cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album. Each of the CP1919 artworks features animated, three-dimensional imagery by Saville as well as a newly recorded soundtrack with previously unheard vocal samples from Joy Division.


Both the white and black versions of the artwork will feature a unique soundtrack that founding Joy Division member Stephen Morris has built around the radio signature of pulsar CP1919 along with processed archival sound. The animated, three-dimensional visuals in CP1919 are inspired by the original Unknown Pleasures cover and created by Bill Holding  & Ben Cox (Morph).


A percentage of proceeds from CP1919 artwork sales will be donated to CALM – a nonprofit that stands united against suicide with everyone in the United Kingdom – in memory of Ian Curtis of Joy Division.”


CP1919: Sweeping Sun White 2023 is an open edition digital artwork featuring a monochromatic white color palette, which anyone can acquire with no limit to the number of editions minted. This artwork also includes an auditory component featuring recently unearthed Joy Division sound and vocal samples.


Priced at $100 each, CP1919: Sweeping Sun White 2023 artworks will be available for sale through Pace Verso from October 9 at 12 PM EDT through October 13 at 12 PM EDT. These digital works can be purchased using cryptocurrency or traditional credit card. Buyers of these open edition artworks will be entitled to a free limited-edition t-shirt and each t-shirt will be unique and correspond to the buyer’s artwork.


CP1919: Sweeping Sun Black 2023 a one-of-one edition with a monochromatic black color palette, will be exclusively available through an online auction hosted by Pace Verso. Unlike its open edition counterpart, CP1919: Sweeping Sun Black 2023’s imagery and unique ambient soundtrack, featuring previously unreleased Joy Division vocal fragments, will never be made available to the public—only the winner of the one-of-one auction will have access to this experiential artwork. The buyer will receive their artwork on a commemorative hard drive in a bespoke slipcase.


Pace Verso’s online auction of CP1919: Sweeping Sun Black 2023 will begin October 9 at 12 PM EDT and conclude on October 13 at 12 PM EDT.


– Pace Gallery

CP1919: Sweeping Sun White 2023
NFT Open Edition

This is full 2 minute sequence whereby both the audio and visuals loop seamlessly.

Peter Saville, Stephen Morris, and Brian Cox on CP1919
Peter Saville, founding member of Joy Division Stephen Morris, and physicist Brian Cox in conversation on CP1919, and the resonance of the Joy Division legacy across the worlds of contemporary art, music, and science.

Conceptual Details

The CP1919 project takes its title from the name of the original pulse of the collapsed star rendered visually on the cover of Unknown Pleasures. Detected by Cambridge University astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell in 1967, CP1919 was the first pulsar—a rotating neutron star that emits radio waves at regular intervals—ever to be discovered. The star’s signal was captured on a plotter as one long, continuous line, but then enhanced and reformatted in layers by Harold Craft of Cornell University to show the frequency and symmetry with which the pulses appeared. This visualization was published in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Astronomy, where Bernard Sumner of Joy Division discovered it.


For the Joy Division album artwork, Peter Saville reversed the positive image as found in the encyclopedia to create the white waves on a black background. Text was absent from the front cover, leaving an enigmatic imprint of an extinct star floating in black space. Since its release in 1979, Saville’s Unknown Pleasures artwork has become globally recognizable.


About the Collaborators
Peter Saville is internationally renowned in art and design—his practice merges aspects of both, this unparalleled approach has resulted in a unique contribution to culture. His hybrid position came into being through the unprecedented autonomy afforded to him as co-founder and art director of the legendary independent UK label Factory Records, where he was free to design without approval. Working in the context of mass production he accessed an audience through pop music, best exemplified in the series of record sleeves he created for Joy Division and New Order between 1979 and 1993. Including the iconic album cover for Unknown Pleasures, depicting radio waves emitted from a collapsed star, but the CP1919 project is his first co-created with a former Joy Division band member.


Stephen Morris, a founding member of Joy Division, has been the drummer for New Order since 1980. His work across percussion, keyboard, and synth helped to shape the post punk, alt rock, and new wave genres. He stewards a large collection of Joy Division and New Order archival video footage and ephemera, and in recent years he has published two volumes of his memoir, Confessions of a Post-Punk Percussionist, an equally humorous and contemplative account of his youth, his experiences as a member of Joy Division, and his life and career after the formation of New Order.


– Pace Gallery

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