WELCOME TO MY SITE
Artist Statement: Polyphonic Practice and Vocalising Site
I am a visual artist, singer-composer and performance maker, working in Bristol UK. My work spans the mediums of performance, voice, drawing, music composition, sound art, video and artistic direction. READ MORE HERE
◦ BURL featuring Ellen Southern: NEXT PERFORMANCE: Undertone, Cardiff, 24th September, 7pm
Over the last few months I have been collaborating with Joanna Pucci, who invited me to be guest vocalist on a live project with BURL (I first encountered her at the Eastonia event where I presented Site Singing , see below).
We have been performing an ever-evolving 30 min sound/noise/drone piece, which we have recently recorded and titled COMPOUND, soon to be released - more info soon!
REVIEW: Four New Acts You Need To Know - see us featured in Crack Magazine (August 2016)
Performances to date:
- The Surrey Vaults Bristol, supporting Pheromoans, 15th April 2016
- THORNY club night at the Cube Microplex, Bristol, 16th April 2016
- New River Studios London, June 5th supporting Pheromoans (thanks to Conny for the image below - video coming soon!)
- Cacophonous Sarcophagus: Schwetfest 2.0 at The Exchange, Bristol, 16th July 2016
- DEAD SPACE CHAMBER MUSIC + UTHER MOADS + MYTH: Live at The Cube Microplex, Friday 14th October, 8pm til late £6 adv. / £8 on the door
Dead Space Chamber Music (myself and guitarist Tom Bush) are pleased to announce we will be playing again with the excellent Liz Muir, cellist with Saltings, at The Cube Microplex. Earlier this year we released a free Demo EP, integrating vocal sound-scapes from my ongoing Site Singing project.
“Three esoteric acts / synthetic gnosis / outré transmissions” More info & audio: The Cube website
RECENT WORK: AT A GLANCE
- POLYPHONY: experiments and adventures in voice solo exhibition at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol 2nd - 6th September 2016
Selected visitors comments:
“A beautiful, haunting show. Love the combination of sound and visual material.”
“Intriguing and a different way of using audio and voice. I love the fact that its playful, haunting, and ritualistic. Thank you.”
“Really haunting and moving – loved the ‘Site Singing’ photos of Over Bridge, and the ‘Fugue’ installation.”
“An absolutely brilliant collection of interactions. Very touching, I didn’t want to leave (I came back!). The human voice in all its rich experience. If there is anywhere else to go, Ellen will take us there.”
“This is one of the most brain-tingling events I have ever witnessed. There should be more of this sort of stuff in Bristol – and elsewhere.”
“Thank you for realising things that I have been feeling around in my head for for years and never had the courage to put into concrete. Brilliant!”
◦ SALTINGS PRESENTS - THE BRISTOL HUM experimental music and film festival, 6th - 10th July, The Edwardian Cloakroom, Bristol
Engaged Voice returned to the Edwardian Cloakroom, but slightly altered...! Vocal recordings from my 2014 site-specific exhibition Engaged Voice were re-worked by myself and Tom Bush as Dead Space Chamber Music, with the excellent addition of cello by Liz Muir (Saltings). Documentation coming soon...
See THE BRISTOL HUM blog for more info
@saltingsmusic & see #thebristolhum & #EngagedVoice
Bristol Arts Development guest blog: Engaged Voice
- DEAD SPACE CHAMBER MUSIC: demo EP release
DSCM Demo EP
◦ SANCTUM: Theaster Gates / Situations / MAYK: October - November 2015
I took part in this ambitious sound project as part of Dead Space Chamber Music, integrating vocal sound-scapes from my ongoing Site Singing project.
I sang as part of Bristol Sacred Harp choir, and while the project ran, was invited to sing ‘What Shall I Do With My Hands’, a 5am incantation to the rhythm of a potters wheel by Louisa Fairclough with singer Chloë Somers and Lou Gilbert Scott of Potstop.
See the Sanctum Bristol website and blog for documentation of the project
Read the Guardian review of Sanctum
See #sanctumbristol on Twitter
Performing with Tom Bush as Dead Space Chamber Music
‘What Shall I Do With My Hands”, photo by Louisa Fairclough
- AMALGAMS: an interdisciplinary immersive performance at the John Wesley Chapel, Bristol: Saturday 31st October 2015
Amalgams (def: a mixture or blend) was a new collaborative performance created together with other invited practitioners by the Onomato Collective. Fellow invited participants included musicians Tina Hitchens, Dominic Lash & Hannah Marshall, electronic artist Liam McConaghy: Microdeform , film maker Louisa Fairclough and Film Curator Kim Knowles (both part of the BEEF film group, Bristol). Many thanks to fellow shapenote-singers Rachel Wemyss, Leila Gamaz and Chloë Somers from Bristol Sacred Harp. See a short video below by Ben Owen.
Read more about AMALGAMS here
Part of the Bristol and Bath Art Weekender 2015
Photos and poster by Ben Owen of Onomato Collective
◦ BRISTOL FESTIVAL OF SONG 9th - 18th October 2015
Bristol Sacred Harp made a Festival of Song debut this year, taking part in Song Raids on a variey of locations on the harbour, and performing a lunchtime concert at the amazing St Mary Redcliffe Cathedral.
Hear the audio here
We also led a shape-note singing workshop at The American Museum, Bath.
◦ EASTONIA - exploring landscapes with artists and academics Friday 9th October 2015
I presented Site Singing as part of an innovative new event series curated by Guy Lochhead. Poster artwork by Alice McFarlane.
See the blog entry about the event on the Site Singing website
See the event Facebook page for info on all participants
Hear Guy Lochheads mixtape on the theme of ‘ruins’
◦ BRISTOL SACRED HARP AT SUPERNORMAL FESTIVAL 7th - 9th August 2015
I really enjoyed the Supernormal Festival 2015, a three-day experimental arts and music festival in Braziers Park, Oxfordshire. We gave a shape-note singing workshop, where we got tens of first-timers singing loud and proud!
See the Bristol Sacred Harp website to join us for weekly singing
Hear audio clips from the 2nd annual Bristol All Day Singing 2015
- WORLD LISTENING DAY 2015: Sound Waves project Saturday 18th July 2015
I was very proud to be part of the Cities and Memory Sound Waves project, which brought together field recordings and sonic re-imaginings from artists across the globe on the theme of water. The resulting Sound Map was launched online on Monday 13th July, and over the week selected contributions were crafted into a special 30 min recomposition to be launched by Stuart Fowkes on WLD itself.
Hear and read about my own contribution, a dripping tap field recording and vocal re-imagining, located in Bristol UK.
Visit the Sound Waves project page to hear the 30 min re-composition, and all the fascinating contributions from sound artists across the world
read more: World Listening Day 2015: H20
- PARTICIPATORY TOUR OF EXHIBITIONS BY RETO PULFER AND PATRICK STAFF Spike Island, 18th July 2015
This track was created by visitors on a performative tour I gave of the exhibition of Reto Pulfer's water-inspired installation Gewässerzeiten. Pulfer's own composition which plays in the space can be heard, as well as distant excerpts from the nearby installation of Patrick Staff's The Foundation.
See & download the exhibition programme here
About the tour: The day of the tour coincided with World Listening Day (see above), which was on the theme of water. So I suggested we use our voices to create layers of watery sounds as we walked meditatively amongst the installation. This informal interactive tour proposed and explored potential connections between these two seemingly contrasting shows, testing out how one exhibition might in fact reveal insights into the other.
The audience was invited to share in this process, through open discussion, personal reflection and through participatory activities (a collaborative mnemonic-drawing and this group sound-work) in order to enact and realise shared themes such as notions of archiving documentary and collecting, revealing the means of making, memory, sanctuary, trust and generosity.
Many thanks to all for taking part and sharing thoughts and experiences!
Current programme: Spike Island
◦ SITE SINGING - vocal Explorations of English Heritage Sites solo exhibition at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, 4th - 8th July 2015
Thank you to all who joined me at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, to hear and reflect on work in progress from my current project.
“Engaging sound-sketches, inspired by visits to some of Bristol’s finest heritage sites” - Bristol Life
“Southern is a genuine polymath...the execution [of her sound-sketches] requiring dedication, planning, and hard work. [They are] all created by the artist using her own voice [with] each piece drawing on her fine art and drawing background” Louisa Trimby, Bristol 24/7 read full article here
About the exhibition: Since last summer, sound artist Ellen Southern has visited a variety of heritage sites within a day of Bristol by foot and public transport, in keeping with Bristol being Green Capital 2015. At each site, she has experimented with her own voice and the acoustics of each space, using her voice to vocalise, or give voice to, these sites.
The resulting sound sketches, created from recordings made at these sites, are works in progress towards final audio works. These will be downloadable by the public, with the aim of contributing to the visitor interpretation of, and encourage engagement with, these lesser known English Heritage sites.
The exhibition will offer the opportunity to hear the sound works created so far, with varying combinations presented each day, and discuss their making with Ellen. Drawings and photographs from the field trips will be exhibited alongside the sound works. Read more
- BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL CREATIVE SPACES PROGRAMME GUEST BLOG ARTICLE
Read an article I wrote about my site-specific vocal sound work Engaged Voice, at the Edwardian Cloakroom last November. The article features a specially made video documenting the work.
- SOUNDING SPIKE ISLAND - a voice-based sound work Bank Holiday Weekend May 1st - 4th 2015
For Spike Island Open 2015, I performed a roving intervention, using my voice and a hand-held recording device to work directly with the acoustics and activity of the building. By overlaying and editing together the resulting recordings, I created a sonic portrait of the building at the time of the open event.
See more about this piece on p2 of this site
◦ INTERVALS - a participatory performance Sunday 26th April 2015
Thanks to the audience at The Cube Microplex, Bristol, who took part in my vocal performance around microtones - the sounds in-between conventional western musical notes. Intervals was created with the audience as part of a night of music also featuring The Nervy Betters and Will Newsome, supporting Diane Cluck on her current tour for ‘Boneset’.
Hear Intervals audio excerpt here:
Hear work in progress:
Link to the event on The Cube website