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
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
Spain 15-16. One of 4 Graphic Scores/Sound maps, which will be placed on each wall in the gallery with a spatial surround sound work.
This October I will be exhibiting a new work at the New Art Exchange Gallery, Nottingham as part of the show Sounds Like Her, curated by Christine Eyene. This is the second exhibition in which Christine has curated my work and I am delighted to be part of it. In addition, I will be running a series of workshops for young girls as part of my Researching Women in Sound in a Box project for Women in Sound Women on Sound and hosting a Sound Walking and Deep Listening Day in Nottingham which will begin at the Gallery. Dates to be announced soon.
This work is based on three years researching the impact of renewable technologies on rural and natural sonic environments.
The research was triggered by an experience in Iceland in 2015 while recording the interior sounds of a hydroelectric power station. The sounds produced by this structure permeated both the interior and exterior spaces, including beneath the river, within the landscape and within my body. This embodied experience produced feelings of distress and physical nausea. In addition, this large scale structure seemed to employ few people to operate it offering no potential economic opportunities for locals within Iceland, a country now dependant on Hydro power.
This raised questions about the development of new technologies to tackle climate change, and which for a variety of reasons might not be examined for potential detrimental societal or environmental impacts. This is in part because they are seen to be better than oil, gas, coal etc.
That same year I began documenting the impact of the large wind farms of the Terra Alta Region of Northern Spain which continued into 2016. And this year I began to explore the societal impact of the wind farms in the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Barrow in Furness in the UK.
Finally, this summer was spent in China exploring the soundscape of both the rural and urban Beijing Soundscape. The Chinese governments goal of being the largest producer of renewable energies on the planet lies in stark contrast to its over populated cities and high use of coal and oil in industry.
This art work represents the soundscapes of four different spaces, a combination of the sounds of renewable technologies, rural and natural soundscapes, the sounds of communities and urban noisescapes. The combined graphic score/sound map and sound work represent a composite of my time spent in each location. Although each wall is located within a different location, in total the work is an holistic representation of the non-linear way in which sound moves through a space and has an impact beyond its origin.
In January this year myself and Rebecca Collins were awarded the Research in a Box grant to develop the Researching Women in Sound in a Box on the new WISWOS website.
The Women in Sound Women on Sound organisation will be launching both the Research in a Box project funded by Lancaster University and our new website on September 7th 2017. The website was developed by WISWOS member Dr Tony Doyle in discussion with all of the contributors of the WISWOS core network and Research in a Box core team.
‘Research in a Box’ is a loanable kit aimed at GCSE or A-Level school students that fits in with the appropriate curriculum and at the same time showcases resources used by researchers. The aim is to inspire the next generation of researchers and to aid in the transition of pupils from school to University.
The RIB box developed by WISWOS is called Researching Women in Sound in a Box.
The loanable box contains a series of toolkits for would be noise makers to construct their own instrument, CD’s of women composers and publications by female academics on sound and music technology, as well as open access live coding software to install on most operating systems.
The online tutorials feature women makers and composers presenting tutorial videos on instrument building — learning how to construct the noise maker in the box, the history of women in music technology, sound engineering, and an introduction to Sonic Pi the live coding application in the box.
The online space also features interactive research spaces to explore the contribution of women authors to the fields of sound, music technology, audio arts, acoustics, music history, audio cultures, plus much more.
The physical boxes are available to rent from Lancaster University
This was an excellent if perhaps very overbooked conference, there were so many parallel sessions I feel I didn’t honestly get to see half of what was on, however, I was really impressed with some of the keynote presenters and the artworks were amazing. Plus we got to have dinner at the Eden Project in Plymouth, stunning. Met some wonderful new people and reconnected with lost of friends.
So we finally have a video reel of how the production Hidden was created at 42nd Street in Manchester, earlier this year. I don’t think the camera loves me, or at least I am not that comfortable in front of the camera, but hey there I am in my studio, woohoo. Also cool that you get to hear some of my sound designs throughout.
I’m delighted that the film maker used my music for the closing credits, the rock music that plays throughout was composed by Tony Doyle and was used for the ground floor scene.
We are all delighted that we are currently shortlisted for the Northern Soul Awards, its a really proud moment for us and all the teen carers who helped make this production happen.
SO great news for all the crew for the production in January of Hidden at The Horsefall at 42nd Street, we have been shortlisted for the Northern Soul Awards. We are listed under fringe productions here. I am so grateful to have worked with such a great bunch of creatives, and the cast were amazing both the kids and the professional actors. It was a great experience developing the sound design for a post semi-potential-apocalyptic society; building robots to take over our caring.
We also had two great reviews written about the production so if you want a read about the full interactive experience of this play check them out. (Right Click to view)