Our ears need you: Anne Louise Kershaw talks all things sound art and The Manchester Open exhibition

Sound innit!

(Approximate reading time 5 mins)

Submissions for The Manchester Open 2022 exhibition are now open and the deadline to submit is September 17th 2021.

We accept artwork in all disciplines including paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, digital and mixed media, video and audio, spoken word, performance and sound art.

In this short article, Anne Louise Kershaw talks to us about her practice as a sound artist, how she’s encouraging sounds artists to submit their work, and her recommendations for great venues supporting sound artists in Manchester.

I’m Community & Outreach Programme Producer at HOME, and one of the Judges on The Manchester Open 2022 Panel. But I’m also a sound artist about to venture outside of gallery walls and release my first physical tape album on Glasgow label Bricolage, so I’m super keen to encourage sound art submissions for the forthcoming Manchester Open Exhibition, deadline to submit September 17th 2021! I wanna hear what you’re doing!

Sound/art/music/noise/performance/experimentation, and the sonic possibilities found within this auditory scale, is one of my favourite of all expressive forms. And however an artist classifies themselves, if they’re utilising sound, from a whisper to a din, I’m pretty hooked.

Two amazing artists featured in the 2020 Manchester Open exhibition, who I would 100% suggest you check out our composer and performance artist Needle Factory and Queen of sound experimentation ZIMZUM.  Needle Factory Freda creates sound on an industrial scale, as a one-woman show.

Performance artist, Needle Factory (Freda Wallace) performing at The Manchester Open 2020 exhibition

Needle Factory 9Freda Wallace) performs at The Manchester Open 2020 exhibition.

Informed by their experience as a trans woman and feminist, they utilise sewing machines and sonic gadgetry, creating mind-bending shows that will blow you away.

ZIMZUM creates a whole sonic stratosphere through experimentation and aural improvisation using found, created and random instruments and electronics. Both shows shook the gallery walls and took MO audiences by storm!

You can find out more about Freda’s work on her website here and listen to her work on Bandcamp here. She also has an exhibition up currently in Night & Day Cafe.

Anyone unfamiliar with this type of performance and work should check out the listings at The Peer Hat, and the work of Fat Out.

The Peer Hat is Manchester’s home to the weird and the wonderful, the outsiders and odd bods, a place that leaves no genre unturned, and regularly programmes all sorts of sonic deviation from the many experimental makers and mind-benders around town, the UK and even the world.

Hailing from Islington Mill and makers of the renowned Fat Out Fest, Fat out have a long history of programming, promoting and commissioning noiize fuelled sonic-sleezters. Keeping a close ear to all they put on will do you good!

If you’re after a book to inspire you I’m a fan of everything from Christina Kubisch’s ‘Stromzeichnungen/ Electrical Drawings’, to Roy Palmer’s ‘The Sound of History’. The ‘Documents of Contemporary Art: Sound’ is a good, if slightly dated (This arena seems to move so fast and be at the same time contemporarily timeless) starting point.

Christina Kubisch’s ‘Stromzeichnungen/ Electrical Drawings’

Christina Kubisch’s ‘Stromzeichnungen/ Electrical Drawings’

Christina Kubisch is one of the pioneers of sound art, with numerous sound installations, performances and compositions to her credit, along with an extensive body of accompanying material that actually forms the springboard for her work. Included are drawings, visual musical scores and text and image sketches from the last 35 years, most of which have never before been shown.

Roy Palmer (10 February 1932 – 26 February 2015)[1] was a singer, teacher, folklorist, author and historian who wrote more than 30 books on folklore and folk song. In 2003[2] he was awarded the Gold Badge, the English Folk Dance and Song Society‘s highest honour.

He had much experience of performing to an audience, setting him apart from better-known folk song scholars and anthologists who collected material but were less concerned with singing it.

Though to be honest you’re probably best turning on your electronic Dictaphone and recording anything and taking it from there….

Just remember to submit to the Manchester Open. Our Ears Need You!! Find out more about The Manchester Open 2022 exhibition and how to submit your work here.