Sunday 29 August 2021, 7.30pm
Please note this show is rescheduled from 14th February 2021 (originally 31st May 2020). All tickets bought for the original date remain valid.
"Her set…was one of the most astonishing and exciting I have seen...I’m not sure whether I have been quite so agreeably alarmed by a live performance of sound and visual art...primarily from the sense that we might have been collectively staring into some terrible future vision of our existence or that of our children..." – Neil March, Demerara Records 2019
Lou Barnell is a London born movement and sound artist. An explosion of material sonic experimentation, intense visuals and brutalist visceral choreography. Barnell create scores as physical traces with sensory tests and materials, extended vocal techniques, wearable sound-materials and biorhythmic sensors, and is currently in the final stages of a period of research and development into dreams, embodied listening and materials funded by Arts Council England, culminating in work in progress MELTA. The piece features Lisa Busby (Co-Performer & Collaborator) and Robin Foster (Technical Director)
Performance is type of dream.
And dreaming is a kind of performance.
These are spaces where we make meaning in the moment and enact the unsayable.
The ‘performance dream’ exists within porous membranes between body and material. This allows me to imagine possible futures for humanity in the face of self-destruction.
It gives language to my feelings of disorientation and alienation as a neurodivergent female.
I use alchemical wearable sound- material sculptures made and reformed live using ice and reusable thermoplastic, and biorhythmic sensors, to create a live body-sonic score.
The audience are invited into a kaleidoscopic, melting, fragile world where materials, bodies and sound resonate and communicate together intensely. A hypnotic explosion of sensory experimentation, shimmering visuals, extended vocal techniques and sensual, queasy sound. Everything quivers, droops, slips and bends. Movements are precise precarious and unsettling. Corporeal granular sounds oscillate, triggered by biorhythmic and environmental data.
In 2014 Nicola Woodham strapped a voice changer toy to her face and a contact microphone to her breast and pushed vocals and crashing sounds through a distortion pedal. Embodied sound and free vocal improvisation are still at the core of her compositions. A regular performer in the London and Ipswich experimental electronic music and noise scenes, she gravitates anywhere with a loud sound system. She is founder of record label GARG. Disabled people’s rights are threaded to her composing. As are her experiences of the governance of her own anxiety condition and mobility issues. She makes uncomfortable interruptions from her misappropriated physical symptoms. Coughs and hyperventilation become percussion and walls of sound, scaling up her physical presence.
In 2019 she joined the witchy network of eTextile makers and coders, learning to hand-make sensors and soft electronic circuits from conductive threads, wool and fabrics. These sensors are worn on her body and caressed, pulled, squashed, prodded, stretched in real time to trigger and effect her vocal sounds. They function as pleasurably haptic scores that direct her vocal improvisation. These movements mimic being over-assessed without consent, over-touched, prodded and ‘collected’, reduced to a body of metrics. A solo DIY act, she controls how audible or visible she is, as a way to seek compensation for constant cycles of violent surveillance/assessment.
Nicola will perform new works in progress, funded by Arts Council England, Develop Your Creative Practice.