On the 15th of July this year (2019), I had the pleasure to work with a group of amazing women at York art museum on the devlopment of a gendered sound mapping project. We explored how sounds can be interpreted, produced or designed for a particular gendered experience. We also discussed how sounds might not fit into any categories of gender, but be of themselves. This workshop raised many questions about what gender is, how sound is learned, how we develop our ability to interpret what we hear, and how we can map or trace that experience.
Feedback from the women who participated in this workshop lifted my soul and made me realise how important it is to keep working with women on ideas around sound, gender, memory and making.
Recently released my new solo album Silent Spring with the label Flaming Pines. This work began over three years ago, with each track, (there are three) created as a meta and physical response to embodied sonic arts research. The album info is below for details from the Flaming Pines site, and the link to listen and purchase tracks or the entire album, is also below. Please purchase to support labels like FP, the great Kate Carr who owns this label, is an invaluable member of the sonic arts community and we need people like her.
Listen to the Wire’s Frances Morgan introduce one of the works on air.
Silent Spring is a meditation on human and natural sounds, new technologies, and our relationships with other species.
It comprises three pieces Icelandic Reveries, Silent Spring and Strange Birds, composed from recordings taken at a hydroelectric dam in Iceland, wind turbine farms in the Terra Alta region Spain and acts of sounding and listening in the Brazilian Amazon, respectively. The first two pieces reflect on the impact of new renewable energy sources, tracing not only the sonic impact of these structures on other species, but the ways in which the soundscape is able to communicate broader structural and environmental changes associated with the introduction of these technologies. In Terra Alta, in Spain, where Silent Spring was composed Linda writes:
“The introduction of wind turbines has changed the natural soundscape, with the constant presence of their whirring sound. The crickets are louder, the birds quieter, the change in economic practices from farming to wind turbine systems on the landscape has resulted in fewer jobs for young men and women with a radically reduced agricultural economy. The villages become quieter with young people moving to the cities. This work documents the different spaces of sound in the region from country bars, to festivals, crickets to turbines, it’s a collage of the sounds that are disappearing over time with the emergence of one dominant tech sound.”
While the final piece, which incorporates recordings taken in the Amazon, is centred on listening to the mixed natural and human soundscapes of the Amazon in the state of Amazonas in Brazil, a process which culminated in an act of connection, a scream into the forest, met with screams in return.
released October 14, 2019
All tracks by Linda O’Keeffe Mastered by Tony Doyle Photography and design: Kate Carr
Special thanks: I would like to acknowledge the support of arts council England in developing the work Strange Birds. A special thanks also to Rebecca for screaming with me in the dark. I would also like to thank Tony Doyle for doing the final mastering of these audio tracks, for listening to every iteration, and giving amazing feedback.
This October I was delighted to release two albums with Brazilian net labels Estranhas Ocupações and Mansarda Records. The newest album with Estranhas Ocupações (EO) was a collaboration between myself and Isabel Nogueira that began in October of 2017 and finished in September 2018. We finalised these audio ideas while working together in Brazil this summer. The record explores the text If I Were Me/Se eu fosse eu, by the Brazilian poet Clarice Lispector. This was an important text to explore for both of us as we were beginning a large scale research project exploring gender, performance, the body and space, and the idea of exploring a text that asked what would someone be, if ideas about who we are supposed to be in a society were removed, in particular notions about gender.
For this album we created a sound piece in four movements using voice, synthesizer, live coding and field recordings. We each explored the subject of If I Were Me, proposed by the author, and were supported in this examination of the text by members of of the research group ECOAR (A research group which explores Body, Art and dance Studies from University of São Paulo, Brazil). We created one particular sound design for their performance If I Were Me which was performed in Sao Paulo in September 2018, coordinated by the choreographer Marilia Velardi. Then we were asked to create an album for EO which allowed us to break the work up in to distinct ideas exploring the theme. This net label allows for free streaming and downloading and can be located here.
Ciclo Sônicas # 5, released September 2018, click here to download
As part of a new approach to performing works of sound, myself and Isabel Nogueira began a research residency in July, in Brazil, which concluded on the 12th of September. We developed a number of pieces inspired by feminist approaches to sound, space, the body and technology for which we were developing over this time. We also collaborated with a female choreographer on a work, like the one below, called Se eu fosse eu, If I were me, inspired by the writer Clarice Lispector. One aspect of our research was to work with new technologies and explore sound making as a conversation between two women and the audience. What preceded each performance was a constant dialogue about the above themes, workshopping with women, giving talks on gender and sound in Sao Paulo, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre.
We also released an album with Mansarda Records, with two other women, Em extinção and Input Nulo, the album Ciclo Sônicas # 5 can be found here, and the tracks are free to download.
Performing Se eu fosse eu (If I Were Me) with Isabel Nogueira at Lugar in Porto Alegre, Brazil*
*VIDEOS BELOW (REFRESH IF YOU CAN’T SEE)
Performance by Linda O Keeffe & Isabel Nogueira at Lop Lop in Sao Paulo 2018
In July 2018 I travelled to Brazil to work with the sound artists and professor of ethnomusicology, Dr Isabel Nogueira. We began a discussion in October 2017 about what it would be like to collaborate on multiple levels, from working as feminists engaging with communities of women to explore sound and technology, to working together as artists to transform our practice.
The details of our extensive community outreach work, which is part of the Women in Sound Women on Sound long term project, will be uploaded shortly.
Since the 9th of July we have created a number of new performance based works, which focus on movement, sound, technology and space. We have performed these works in Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Additionally, we have focused on gesture and interaction as a process of embodied performance working in collaboration with the composer Tony Doyle to develop works in SuperCollider using the Wii remote controller. This has been quite a transformative process to engage so intimately with technology, while collectively exploring feminism in the arts, in space, with women.
We have a number of performance projects still to come, on the 18th of August we presented a collaboration with the dance group Pesquisa Qualitativa em Cena called If I Were Me at Espaço Núcleo in São Paulo. Myself and Isabel began developing the sound for this work in 2017, starting with texts, images, video and sounds. We have since created a series of performance pieces based on the concept of If I Were Me, based on the titular poem by acclaimed Brazilian writer and poet Clarice Lispector. We have drawn on this text as a philosophical basis for the beginnings of a feminist ethnography and pedagogical study.
While in Porto Alegre I have continued to develop my visual arts practice through graphic score compositions. I have become increasingly interested in the invisibility of female bodies in public spaces, particularly homeless, black and native South American women and children. As a sociologist it is impossible to work or walk through a space and not be aware of certain social conditions. Impossible to ignore them when everyday they lie or sit on the streets. Conversations with Brazilian women have been incredibly eye opening about the extreme divisions of class and ethnicity in this country. I was aware through media and literature of some of these conditions but not the extent. I began an artist in residency with Isabel in La Foto Galeria in Porto Alegre and will continue to work there till I leave on the 12th of September, working on these graphic scores as well as our collaborative projects. This is my first time working with acrylic in the creation of scores and it is a very exciting process.
Myself, Isabel and Rebecca Collins will host the Gender Symposium at La Foto Galeria on the 6th of September, this promises to be an amazing event.
At Audio Rebel in Rio de Janeiro with my Wii
Graphic Scores in Progress
Prepping with some amazing women before a gig at Lugar, Porto Alegre.
I travelled to Beijing on the 8th of July to start working with young women on sound in the arts at Beijing Foreign Studies University, where I am a visiting Professor, focusing on digital creativity, performance, coding and the soundscape. It’s been really exciting, as I have also started to develop a new body of work as well as a continuation of my series Hybrid Soundscapes. More to follow as I develop this practice.
So delighted and excited that I received the arts council International Travel Award to undertake a large artistic research project with Prof Isabel Nogueira and Dr Rebecca Collins.
While there we will explore the subject Sounding the Feminist Body examine new approaches to exploring the history of women’s participation in the sound arts in Brazil, develop new practice based techniques, resulting in the development of a new body of work, and an innovative methodology for community outreach projects. The visit includes network meetings with curators, producers and activists in Salvador, Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Amazonia. Activity in Brazil is supported by a follow up meeting in the UK to present talks, performances and workshops.
So far our schedule is pretty busy, but looking forward to meeting up with many sound artists, composers, performance artists and community groups.
In December 2017 myself and artist Slavek Kwi (AKA Artificial Memory Trace) released our second collaborative album Chooltd. Myself and Kwi have been working together for over 8 years on what can only be described as slow sound art works. We combine the audio pictures of our lives to create new sound worlds built on personal everyday experiences, events in our worlds and our love of sound in general. Below are the liner notes for the album on Bandcamp, please support our work by purchasing the album for yourself or encourage your University library if you have one, to buy the album for students and researchers.
I wanted to share sounds that explored the hot and cold nature of landscapes, a number of the sounds mixed were based on recordings of spaces fundamentally shaped by their extreme weather from the cold landscape of Iceland with it’s hot interior geology, and the Mediterranean landscape of Spain, with it’s parched yet abundant ecosystem.
The work progressed from these beginnings to exploring hot and cold natures, hot and cold feelings, metaphors of life and death, family and isolation. Hot and Cold became an anagram of different emotive and societal similes.
First thoughts … HOT COLD … hot becomes cold … cold becomes hot … feeling … feelings. I am wondering how we can distinguish in the realms of sound in between the two. Is it very personal feeling linked to this particular situation, … a reference to something associated?
… and again, re-wording_unfolding: CHOOLTD … scrambled. Actually, I have absolutely no idea how to differentiate clearly in between HOT and COLD within sounds. However, I am happy to explore…more
released December 8, 2017
Note: The composition is designed as 4-channel piece. You can hear stereo version as 1st track and then there are available stems for 4-ch version, if you wish …
Cover design, photos and collage: Linda O’Keeffe
Final design: Slavek Kwi
As part of the Sounds Like Her exhibition at the New Art Exchange (NAE) in Nottingham I was commissioned to run a two-day workshop with 15 teenage girls from the Nottingham Girls Academy.
Over the two days the girls recorded the soundscape of Nottingham, created sound maps, learned about the social and cultural significance of sound, explored women’s contribution to music and sound art, learned how to create graphic scores for voice and electronics, performed live with voice and finally generated performances of their score using a granular synthesis application. It was a pretty busy two days, bit a fantastic experience for all. NAE were brilliant in supporting this event, providing a space and technology for all the activities and gorgeous tasty food for each day.
See below examples of the activities and work produced by the girls.
In October this year the Sounds Like Her show, curated by Christine Eyene, was launched at the New Art Exchange Gallery in Nottingham. I was one of the commissioned artists in this show which was looking to “broaden existing approaches to sound art, and contest Eurocentric and patriarchal frameworks to sound art” (Eyene 2017). My work, a four wall drawing and sound installation piece, see pics, explored the impact of renewable technologies on the social and natural soundscape.
Each wall drawing is both sound map and graphic score based on four different spaces I have explored over the past 4 years, Beijing, China, Walney in Barrow, UK, The Terra Alta Region in Spain and Iceland. The sound work a 5 .0 piece was spatialised by the composer Tony Doyle. The exhibition also featured works by Ain Bailey, Elsa M’bala, Sonia Boyce, Christine Sun Kim and others. It was a privilege to be part of such a far reaching and important exhibition. The work will continue to be exhibited till January 2018 and will then tour to other venues, those spaces TBA.
Sounds Like Her (2017), curated by Christine Eyene, produced by New Art Exchange. Photography: Bartosz Kali