I am an artist, experimental composer and researcher developing collaborative composition methods that foreground perception through practice based research.
What I’m currently working towards is to share with the audience, in some way, how the musicians’ bodies feel and act while they play/perform/interact with their instruments and the environment around them. I am interested in uncovering the musicians’ inner worlds, composing with situations and with elements of a lived experience. I am generally unconcerned with creating sound material but care about the experiential effect sound might have on both doers and listeners. I am recently welcoming more ecological views – qualities of the environment that may be experienced aesthetically – into my practice. My PhD takes place at University of Glasgow and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and my research is generously funded by AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.
I graduated from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Music Technology department in 2014 and completed my Masters in Sound for Moving Image at Glasgow School of Art in 2016. For both degrees, my graduation projects looked into Pierre Schaeffer’s analysis theory for electroacoustic music. During the undergraduate degree, I looked at the language used by Schaeffer and its accessibility for classical musicians without an electroacoustic theory background. During the masters the research continued with the development of an interactive software that used Schaeffer’s work as inspiration for the development of a visual score called Visual Object.
After graduation I continued developing this software with creative coder Pawel Kudel and was commissioned to write a piece using it by Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow. The software gave me live control during the performance over visuals rendered in real-time, which served as a visual score for the musicians and were projected for the audience to see. This let me respond through the visual parameters to the musicians’ acoustic interpretation creating a feedback loop between the score, composer and musicians.
Working with visuals and musicians at the same time focused my research towards the relationship between composer and performer and how this intermediary agent – the “score” – can extend beyond a set of instructions and become a part of the work as experienced by the audience. As the score develops into a participatory element, its role into performance becomes as important as the musicians themselves. This perspective opened up new approaches to composition leading me to experiment with different types of stimuli as scores and challenging musicians to interpret them subjectively in performance
In 2017 I created not for sensitive skin as a commission for Post-Paradise series in Birmingham. I performed audio and visuals alongside multi-instrumentalist Sam Leigh Taylor, both of us responding to a carbonated clay face mask (the score), which was applied to us during the performance. To immerse the audience in the performance we had an assistant applying the face mask to them as well, creating a multi-modal performance with audio, visual and tactile stimuli.
In Breathe (2018), I looked further into the dynamic and connection between performer,composer and audience in a composition for two accordions, performed by accordionist Paul Zaba and myself. We each synchronised our breath with the movement of the bellows of our accordion, playing two predetermined note for the in and out breath. We invited the audience to match their breathing with us and experience the physicality of being the performer. The audience conformed entirely and the result was one giant shared organism breathing at once.
In the summer of 2018 I participated in the composition summer course at International Music Institute Darmstadt. In the Composing for Accordion workshop, led by Rebecca Saunders and Krassimir Sterev, I composed a piece for accordionist Sophie Aupied. This developed as a research process where I set out to understand Sophie, what is specific to her as a musician and what her connection with her instrument is. During this, she showed me the roar – a simultaneous vocal and instrumental outburst, a moment of ultimate connection between her and the instrument. Tailored specifically to her, the piece is presented as a composer-performer duo in which stimuli found as efficient during the research process – in this case, personal remarks shouted at her – help to charge her emotionally and trigger the roar.
As well as working with musicians, I am interested in sound and embodiment in a mental health context. I have worked with Fluxus artist Wendy Jacob on developing the sound for a tactile installation directed at people with severe Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Further from this, I’ve collaborated with creative coder and IRCAM graduate Baptiste Bohelay with whom I’ve led several audio-visual workshops for children, one of which was designed specifically for children with ASD.