As Gaeilge Time and Space

This piece was commissioned for the Myriad Materialities Conference, 9th June 2021, for CPAGH (Colonial Ports and Global History) Network

This work examines the way in which a language or sound evolves, becomes transmuted, muted or disappears as it moves beyond the centre, or source of its origin as a result of colonial transformations and post-colonial forgetting.

Growing up in Ireland I resisted having to learn Irish in school, I didn’t understand the point, no one I knew spoke Irish, the common tongue was English, and there was nowhere in the world where having this language would benefit me. I felt a similar antipathy towards Irish music, it felt commodified, created for tourism, a specialised sound for a particular audience. Nothing to do with me. However, when I visited the Gaeltacht regions in Ireland, or heard spoken Irish in a bar, I felt a pull, an envy, an anguish, a loss at not being able to speak or understand my own language. I have felt, in recent years, as an economic migrant, the same experience towards the sound of my culture, from music to poetry, to prose. In researching for this commission, I have explored the history of my language and culture as it has spread from the centre, moving across borders as we left for work, for safety, for independence.  When we think of things transported across water, across land, brought to different countries, we focus on things, objects and goods, but there are other kinds of materiality’s, which move from port to port.  Language and sound are a part of these myriad materials that when forced to move, either evolve or merge with other cultures, or over time and across space, disappear. 

I would like to thank those who have supported the development of this art work, William Howard Lecteur de Gaélique from the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history and evolution of the Irish Language, Dr Clare Downham and Dr Eoghan Ahern from The University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, for facilitating in the translation of text from English to Irish, and to the composer and performer Tony Doyle for performing the sounds and music for this piece. I also want to thank those who have contributed their voices across time and space, to this work.

Evolving Ourselves with Natural Selection

So thrilled that I received a funding grant from Creative Scotland to develop an R&D project with two collaborators, Tony Doyle and Ashley James Brown, we have become the collective known as Non-Random (website to come soon). We have been awarded £33000 to spend a year undertaking research and development for a body of early stage art works in response to the gene editing technology CRISPR. This is an incredible opportunity to develop an idea we’ve been working on for 2 years. See below for info on our project idea. We will be creating a number of events, talks and and interactice online art works for experimentation going forward. We will be sharing on our new social networks soon.

Evolving Ourselves

Evolving Ourselves with Unnatural Selection is a new collaborative project between artists and researchers that will explore and present some of the ethics and future implications of gene editing through a digital multi-arts approach.

Presented primarily via an online digital platform incorporating machine learning techniques and a variety of cutting edge digital arts tools, the project looks at bringing together research, data science, visual arts, sound and language into an experimental toolkit and set of frameworks that presents the project findings to a wider public audience in the shape of playful online interactive interventions. The project fosters an open dialogue between artists, disabled voices in the community and researchers that seeks to navigate the ethical, empirical and creative challenges around the sensitive topics, while bringing the artistic concepts and thoughts into a general public audience’s hands for investigation and conversation.Through a participatory approach, the project gives a focus on giving underrepresented voices in the community a chance to shape and share their experiences through creative artistic expression.

The project will serve as a springboard for future creative arts investigations into how the arts and cultural collectivity can be vital in helping share some of the world’s most complex scientific problems.

Footfalls Album – Walking La Fatarella

In October 2020 the record label Flaming Pines asked me to contribute a track to the 2nd edition of the album Footfalls. I had spent some of the summer in lockdown in the rural mountain village of La Fatarella northern Spain. It had been difficult to summon the interest to do field recording while everyone was scared of dying, the focus of my time there had been to continue recording the wind turbines in the region, however, I became more interested in the little moments of celebration taking place in the village. This piece was a document of experiencing those moments while trying to listen to the soundscape of wind farms. Click Here listen to the work.

Women in Space

On the 24th of October the performance Women in Space took place in the Edinburgh Sculpture Court at Edinburgh University. This piece co-designed by myself, Sophia Lycouris and Isabel Nogueira involved bringing a selection of women together, artists, performers and theorists, to occupy a space shaped by patriarchy and colonialism. Our performance was inspired by an ideal to bring only the voices, sounds, bodies and text of women into the space. It was part planned, using text to inspire action and activity, and interpretive, to allow these actions to encourage others. Our performance also focused on the gaze, instead of being observed as performers, we reached out to our audience, spoke to them, encouraged them to participate, and we looked at and spoke to each other.

This performance followed from a visit and talk given by Prof Isabel Nogueira at the School of Art, Edinburgh University. She discussed the role of gender within Brazil in shaping women’s relationship to performance, music and technology. She also spoke of the exclusion of women of colour and ethnic groups of Latin America and the work she has done on gender and performance. I have worked with Isabel on a number of projects in Brazil and was incredibly excited to create this performance in Brazil. Women participatring included other lecturers from the university, PhD and postgrad students from the school of art and the school of art history. To watch a section of the performance take a look at the vimeo link.

Gendered Sound Mapping in York

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.


Silent Spring Album Launch

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.

https://flamingpines.bandcamp.com/album/silent-spring

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.  

credits

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.

Album Release If I Were Me / Se Eu Fosse Eu

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.

Performance Works created with Isabel Nogueira

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

Sounding the Feminist Body

Linda and Isabel.

 

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.

Working in China with Women

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.

Working with Sonic Pi and loving it.

Breathing in China

Intravenous Injection to Tree