Curating Commissioning Producing


Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic Symposium

5 May 2012, 11am-5.50pm
Starr Auditorium at Tate Modern
Bankside, London SE1 8TG

Exploring and developing emergent feminist discourses in sound and music, whilst challenging standard readings and approaches to feminisms and the sonic, the Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic symposium brought together contributions by musicians, artists, academics and writers, including Ute Meta Bauer, Fender Schrade, Sonia Boyce, Georgina Born, Viv Corringham, Lina Dzuverovic, Catherine Grant, Emma Hedditch, Anne Karpf, Cathy Lane, Anne Hilde Neset, Maggie Nichols, Nina Power, Tara Rodgers, Salomé Voegelin.


Situating Her Noise
This introductory panel situates the Her Noise project within wider discourses of feminism and sound practices.

Salomé Voegelin (Chair)
Lina Dzuverovic: A Decade with Her Noise
Cathy Line: presencing Her Noise
Ute Meta Bauer and Fener Schrade: A_Muse

Affinities, Networks and Heroines
A series of contributions exploring feminist genealogies and histories from a number of perspectives ranging from the personal to the anthropological. With particular reference to women and sound practices, they encompass DIY approaches to music making, distribution and the formation of personal iconographies.

Georgina Born (Chair)
Sonia Boyce: Good Morning Freedom
Catherine Grant: Girls, Fans, Her Noise
Emma Hedditch:All of the actions of which I part

Vocal Folds
Voice is one of the most common tools for women working in sound, specifically the spoken and extended voice of the artist, as a device to challenge existing language, both linguistic and musical. This introduction of the body can be situated as oppositional to the dominant aesthetics in the sonic realm. To what extent can this be understood as a strategy of self-representation, a feminist strategy? Three contemporary vocal practitioners address these questions, reflecting on their own work through presentation and performance.

Anne Karpf (Chair)
Maggie Nicols
Cara Tolmie
Viv Corringham

Dissonant Futures
This panel explores women's varied uses and abuses of technology. In all of its outward manifestation, sound technology is highly gendered. What happens when this technology is innovated and commanded in ways that destabilise that gendering? Can the use of technology reflect radical political sensibilities?

Anne Karpf (Chair)
Kaffe Matthews: Music for Bodies
Tara Rodgers: Dissonant Histories: Gender and Culture in the History of Synthesized Sound
Nina Power: The Dystopian Technology of the Female Voice

Abstracts and biographies

Situating Her Noise

Salomé Voegelin is an artist and writer, who is concerned with listening as an aesthetic practice. She is the curator of, and most recently she has organised two sound events at the Swiss Church in London. Other recent projects include an urban pod-cast for RADAR in Loughborough, UK and a site -specific piece for the Bregenz Kunstverein, Austria, produced in collaboration with David Mollin. She is the author of Listening to Noise and Silence : towards a Philosophy of Sound Art, Continuum (2010 ).

Lina Dzuverovic: A Decade With Her Noise
This presentation aims to offer a contextual background and situate Her Noise by outlining the impetus behind the project and exhibition (South London Gallery, 2005) and illuminating the processes and challenges that shaped its final form. A decade on, the talk will revisit key questions of exclusion and historical amnesia embedded in dominant historical narratives, which are some of the core issues that fuelled the sense of urgency behind this initiative. The talk will map out key curatorial ideas, approaches and strategies behind Her Noise and look back on the project's successes and failures. The talk will also touch upon the shift over the past decade in the approach of visual arts institutions towards sound-based work and feminist discourses. Lina D?uverovic was the co-curator, with Anne Hilde Neset, of Her Noise, the project and exhibition, and co-founded the Her Noise Archive.

Lina Dzuverovic is the Curator at Calvert 22 Foundation, London, and previously Director of Electra, a London-based contemporary art organisation which she co-founded in 2003. Key projects include IRWIN - Time For A New State (Calvert 22, 2012) and NSK Symposium (Tate Modern, 2012), The Forgetting of Proper Names (Calvert 22, 2012), 27 Senses (Chisenhale Gallery, 2010; Kunstmuseet KUBE, Alesund, Norway, 2009), film/performance Perfect Partner by Kim Gordon, Tony Oursler and Phil Morrison (Barbican Centre, London and across Europe, 2005), group exhibition Her Noise (South London Gallery, 2005), Sound And The Twentieth Century Avant-Garde lecture series (Tate Modern, 2004), and numerous projects by Christian Marclay. In 2009 Lina was one of two curators of the fifth edition of Momentum, the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art (Moss, Norway).

Cathy Lane: Re-presencing Her Noise
This presentation will consider about the move of the Her Noise Archive to University of the Arts London focusing on three main issues: the motivation for re-siting the archive; the current use and re-use (or re-presencing) of the archive and the plans for its future development. Cathy Lane will contextualise this within the development of sound art as an emergent area of creative practice and its development, along with associated theoretical discourses, within an academic context both at London College of Communication and more widely.

Cathy Lane is a composer, sound artist, lecturer and researcher. Current interests include how sound relates to our environment and our collective and individual memories; composing with the spoken word; sound and gender and cross arts collaboration. A series of works with choreographer Rosemary Butcher have been performed and exhibited worldwide. Publications include Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice (Gruenrekorder, 2010). Edited books (with Angus Carlyle) on Listening and Field Recording are due for publication in 2013. Cathy Lane established the department of Sound Art and Design and now co-directs Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice (CRiSAP) at the University of the Arts, London. She has a PhD in electroacoustic music composition from City University, London.

Ute Meta Bauer and Fender Schrade: A_Muse
Ute Meta Bauer's presentation addresses the sound-based archive of late electroacoustic pioneer Marianne Amacher and the challenges of dealing with her remaining work. Yet again, this proves to be an example of how economics and politics intertwine; a process referring to the ways in which Amacher's artistic and personal life, as well as her practice, have been radical responses rejecting conformity and normativity. While Bauer will focus on 'noise' in her exploration, the contribution by Fender Schrade, Bauer's long-term conversation partner on this topic, will unpack the status of 'her' in Her Noise, opening also for the possibility of queering this proposition. His presentation looks at transgender-identified and gender queer musicians and sonic producers, explored in parallel with thoughts on engineering, in particular live sound engineering from a queer perspective.

Ute Meta Bauer is an Associate Professor and the Founding Director of the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology at MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. She studied stage design and art at the HfbK Hamburg and, for more than two decades, has worked as a curator of exhibitions and presentations on contemporary art, film, video, and sound with a focus on transdisciplinary formats. Bauer was a co-curator of Documenta 11 on the team of Okwui Enwezor, the Artistic Director of the 3rd Berlin Biennale and served as the Founding Director of the Office For Contemporary Art Norway (OCA). In fall 2012 she will assume the position of Dean of the School of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art in London.

Fender Schrade studied media engineering at the University of Applied Science in Stuttgart, Germany and has a background in live sound engineering and music composition. Currently residing in Germany Fender collaborates as audiovisual designer and media engineer in international dance art performance projects with contemporary choreographers. Since 2000 Fender has participated with media art works dealing with transgender issues and media technology in art exhibitions as well as giving lectures about the use of media technology for queer feminist activist work. Fender also composes music for documentary films and queer performance projects, and authors texts for transgender publications. In his/her recent work Fender is exploring the culture of transgender and audio culture; with media art work, lectures and workshops which started at MIT in Boston in 2008.

Affinities, Networks and Heroines

Georgina Born is a Professor of Music and Anthropology at Oxford University. She researches contemporary music and media production, encompassing music, television, new media art and interdisciplinary art-science, often in institutional form. As a musician she performed with Henry Cow, the Feminist Improvising Group, The Raincoats, Derek Bailey's Company and others. Her books are Rationalizing Culture: IRCAM, Boulez and the Institutionalization of the Musical Avant-Garde (University of California Press, 1995), Western Music and its Others: Difference, Representation, and Appropriation in Music (University of California Press, 2000)and Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC (Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 2004). She currently directs the ERC-funded research programme 'Music, Digitization, Mediation: Towards Interdisciplinary Music Studies'. Two edited books - Music, Sound and Space: Transformations of Public and Private Experience, and Interdisciplinarity: Reconfigurations of the Social and Natural Sciences are forthcoming.

Sonia Boyce: Good Morning Freedom
Since 1999, and with the assistance of the general public, Sonia Boyce has been building an archival collection and artworks derived from a collection called the Devotional series, which seeks to recall collective memories of black British female singers. Boyce’s presentation Good Morning Freedomwill look at the process and outcomes of the Devotional series, and consider her current thinking on the future of this ongoing project.

Since the 1990s Sonia Boyce Sonia Boyce's art practice has relied on working with other people in collaborative and participatory situations, often demanding of those collaborators spontaneity and unrehearsed performative actions. Exhibitions and monographs include: Sonia Boyce: Speaking in Tongues, (Gilane Tawadros, Kala Press 1997) ; Annotations 2/Sonia Boyce: Performance, (Mark Crinson, Iniva, 1998); Recent Sonia Boyce: la, la, la, (Reed College, Portland, Oregon, 2001(; Century City: art and culture in the modern metropolis, (Tate Modern, London, 2001); Sharjah International Biennial 7 (Sharjah, 2005); Devotional (National Portrait Gallery, London, 2007); Crop Over (Harewood House, Leeds and Barbados Museum & Historical Society, 2007/2008); For you, only you (Paul Bonaventura, Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford University and tour 2007/2008), Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty (Thessaloniki Biennale 2, Greece, 2009); Like Love, (Spike Island, Bristol and tour, 2010); Afro Modern, (Tate Liverpool and tour, 2010); Black Sound White Cube (Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, 2011); 8+8 Contemporary International Video Art (53 Museum, Quangzhou, 2011); and The Impossible Community (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2011).

Catherine Grant: Girls, Fans, Her Noise
In this presentation Catherine Grant will discuss works by contemporary artists that rework histories of second-wave feminism. Focusing on the figures of the fan and the girl Grant will consider how these histories are re-animated in the present. As archival practices have become central to contemporary art, she will consider how the active engagement of the fan is a model for thinking about this work in ways that highlight the emotional and political potential of feminist histories for the present moment.

Catherine Grant is a Lecturer in the Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is currently researching issues of re-enactment in contemporary art, with the article Fans of Feminism: re-writing histories of second-wave feminism in contemporary art (Oxford Art Journal, Summer 2011) being part of this project. She has also co-edited the book Girls! Girls! Girls! in contemporary art (Intellect, 2012) and the special issue of Art History on Creative Writing and Art History (April 2011).

Emma Hedditch: All of the actions of which I am part
"I will work through materials that I have collected and constructed, as a means to show and understand some of the ways materials can be collected and constructed. Using my own experiences to chart, or point to, different non-linear practices that I have participated in. Taking the beginning as random and non-chronological but a point in the mix."

Emma Hedditch is an artist and writer, based in South London, who often works collaboratively with other artists, groups and individuals with a commitment to process over products. Heavily influenced by politicised conceptual practice and feminism, her work attempts to communise forms, such as videos, performances, fanzines and 'social situations' such as workshops screenings and events. Emma was part of the initial organising team of the Her Noise Archive, and developed the project We're Alive, Let's Meet at the Her Noise exhibition (South London Gallery, 2005).

Vocal Folds

Anne Karpf is Reader in Professional Writing and Cultural Inquiry at London Metropolitan University. A columnist for The Guardian (where she was radio critic for seven years) and other publications, she is also a regular broadcaster for BBC Radios 3 and 4. Her books include The Human Voice (Bloomsbury, 2006).

Maggie Nicols is a musician, composer, educator, actor, dancer, writer, and community activist, and she has performed and led workshops internationally since the 1960s. She co-founded F.I.G (Feminist Improvising Group) in the1970s and started the ongoing multi media women's workshop performance group CONTRADICTIONS in 1980. In 1991, she began hosting the improvised happening 'The Gathering' which now takes place in several locations, including London, South Wales, Liverpool and Austria. Her aim is to be an effective channel for universal creativity, healing and liberation. She believes that in our different rhythms together, we can co-create situations that bring out the best in us all.

Cara Tolmie is a Scottish artist currently based in London. Her work spans performance, video, text and sound. She is currently working on a new moving image work commissioned by Picture This, Bristol, to be exhibited July 2012. Recent exhibitions include Seeing in the Dark (CIRCA Projects, Newcastle, 2011), Myriad Mouth Line (Frieze Projects, Frieze Art Fair, London, 2011), Description 5 (Supplement Gallery, London, 2011), 3 Penny Opera (S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2011) and Read Thou Art and Read Thou Shalt Remain (Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, 2011). She also collaborates in the group, Graham Ball with Paul Abbott and plays in the band Rude Pravo with Stevie Jones and Luke Fowler.

Viv Corringham is a British vocalist and sound artist, currently based in Minneapolis, USA, who has worked internationally since the early 1980s. Her work includes music performances and audio installations. Her project Shadow-walks, which explores peoples' relationship with familiar places and how that links to personal history and memory, has been presented internationally from New York to Istanbul to Portugal. She has an MA Sonic Art from Middlesex University and is a certified teacher of Deep Listening by Pauline Oliveros. She was a 2006 McKnight Composer Fellow through the American Composers Forum.

Dissonant Futures

Anne Hilde Neset is Artistic Director of Oslo-based music organisation NyMusikk and Contributing Editor of The Wire magazine, a monthly international music publication. She is also the co-founder (with Lina Dzuverovic) of Electra and has worked internationally as a lecturer and curator and well as radio presenter. Curatorial projects include the annual Latitude Contemporary Art Prize (Latitude Festival), Her Noise (South London Gallery, 2005) and the Kim Gordon, Tony Oursler and Phil Morrison collaboration Perfect Partner (Barbican Centre, 2005(. She has worked with artists such as Christian Marclay, Daria Martin, Zeena Parkins, Maja Ratkje and many others, has lectured at MIT, London's LCC, Bergen Art Academy, Middlesex University as well as co-curating a host of festivals internationally, such as the music criticism festival Off The Page in Whistable. She devised and taught Sound And The 20th Century Avant-Garde, a lecture series on sound art for Tate Modern and has been a guest presenter for BBC Radio 3's Late Junction programme and is a regular guest on Stuart Maconie's BBC Radio 6 show.

Kaffe Matthews: Making music for bodies
Kaffe Matthews' practice is intimately linked to the use of technology, and has frequently called for the design of new technologies. The tools and methods she uses are often employed in personal ways - for socially engaged concerns, for the exploration of hidden or forgotten sounds, and for the bodily experience of sound - processes and relationships that Matthews will unpack in this talk.

Kaffe Matthews is a pioneering composer and sound artist who works live with things and places worldwide to make new electro-acoustic music for wide ranging audiences. Violin, theremin, star maps, desert stretched wires, NASA scientists, hammerhead sharks, melting ice in Quebec and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra have all contributed to a growing body of work for sites such as concert halls, audio bicycles, public spaces and the human body. She received a BAFTA in 2004 for Weightless Animals and in 2006 a Distinction, Prix Ars Electronica for Sonic Bed_London. She is an Honorary Professor of Music at the Shanghai Music Conservatory, directs sonic furniture project music for bodies, and has been releasing solo works on the label Annette Works since 1996. She has just completed 3D composition You might come out of the water every time singing for Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, from diving with hammerhead sharks in Galapagos 2009. Often collaborating, her current projects include Yird Muin Starn with Mandy McIntosh making seats and music for star gazing in the Galloway Forest; with Laura Harrington and Northumberland children making Where are the Wild Ones? an opera from the migrating journeys of wild salmon, and with TimeLab, Ghent, to make audio work The swamp that was.. for satellite linked audio bicycles.

Tara Rodgers: Dissonant Histories: Gender and Culture in the History of Synthesized Sound

The history of synthesized sound technologies is marked by technoscientific desires for genesis and creation, and entwined with scientific practices of sorting bodies by aesthetic characteristics. This presentation will examine how these sound technologies and discourses have been gendered, as well as how women inventors and composers have challenged these norms over many decades.

Tara Rodgers is a composer, scholar and currently an Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Digital Cultures & Creativity at the University of Maryland. She holds a PhD in Communication Studies from McGill University and an MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College. Her collection of interviews, Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound (Duke University Press, 2010( won the 2011 Pauline Alderman Book Award from the International Alliance of Women in Music. She is currently writing a history of synthesized sound. At UMD, she coordinates the Women's Studies Multimedia Studio, a teaching lab and event space that brings together fields of women's studies, digital humanities, media art and performance.

Nina Power: The Dystopian Technology of the Female Voice

We are well-accustomed to hearing the well-honed and slightly robotic tones of a reassuring female voice in places where many people pass through - train stations, airports, buses, but also at the end of a pre- recorded telephone message or reading out a set of pre-set options. Here the female voice is calm, neutral and ever-so-slightly futuristic. She is the logical vocal daughter of the switch-board operator of a previous era. But what does the use of the female voice in these spaces mean for the cooptation of recognisable female voices? What of the sinister implications for both women and public space when the gendering of this voice - often used to reassure but simultaneously to order and remind us of states of 'heightened security'? This paper will examine some of the varied uses of the techno-neutral female voice, and discuss a particular instance where Emma Clarke (the Tube announcer) was fired because of her spoof recordings (well, allegedly because she also criticised London Underground, but really because of the recordings: Emma Clarke's recordings unsettle because they send a ripple across the supposedly calming and neutral quality of the recorded female voice, which is not supposed to criticise, or feel, but only to reassure, order and alert.

Nina Power teaches Philosophy at Roehampton University and Critical Writing in Art and Design at the Royal College of Art, London. She is the author of One-Dimensional Woman ( Zer0, 2009) and of many articles on European philosophy, film and music.

Image Credit: Jan Herman, Vivace and Dolosoro Something Else Press Yearbook, 1974

Related Links
Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic

Artist Talk and Performance: Pauline Oliveros

The Voice is a Language