I have lived and worked in London for three decades now and I have followed parallel, occasionally overlapping, paths as visual artist and curator, graphic designer and web developer and electronic musician/music producer.
My art practice has encompassed a wide variety of media: sound, performance, digital/online media, radio, video, photography, installation and sculpture. Themes that I have explored in my practice have included: contextual aspects of the artwork, appropriation and reproduction as strategies, issues of scale and duration and dialogues between place and people. With the artist film-maker Michelle Deignan I collaboratively curated and co-ordinated an online artist’s residency: variablemedia.org. Variablemedia also produced a physical exhibition and events. After we ended the project in 2006 I took an active decision to stop making and exhibiting art.
In the second half of the last decade I re-engaged with my art practice, working primarily with sound. In February 2019 I graduated with a Masters in Sound Arts from the University of Arts London. This course delivered some profound experiences; particularly in collaborative and group work, and improvisatory practice and performance.
Much of my sound work has reflected on how popular music operates in both the public and personal realms; from ‘earworms’ to musak. I am interested in questioning boundaries between the audience and the performer and amateur and professional status. I realised an ambitious MA final project: involving recruiting a series of ‘amateur’ guitarists to play a looping ‘found’ composition via a spatialisation of an electric guitar’s output, into a six-floor atrium space, over the exhibition’s duration. Amongst other work produced on the MA was an audio-visual assemblage which engaged critically with the academic archive (specifically the Delia Derbyshire collection at the University of Manchester).
Following on from a number of problems and mental health issues I had encountered over the years, in mid 2019 I received a diagnosis of the Autism Spectrum Condition of Asperger Syndrome. Near the end of last year I received a further diagnosis of ADHD. As can be imagined my Autism diagnosis has lead me to a reappraisal of various aspects of my life; a reconsideration of my personal history, of decisions taken and opportunities presented (or not presented). One of the most positive outcomes of the diagnosis was the chance to take part in, and share experiences with, a peer support group of other Autistic people.
My Autism diagnosis marked the start of a personal research project into the notion of an “autistic aesthetic” and all the potentially problematic but compelling concepts that this might suggest. Notions of taste, of course, have been investigated, and often eviscerated, through 20th-century Modernism and since. But ultimately an aesthetic presents a model of the world; a world view. I am interested in what literary disability studies scholar Julia Miele Rodas describes as “the potential for reading autism as an aesthetic, cultural, literary, linguistic, or rhetorical category, a form of being and expression that might emerge not only in personhood but also in art and fashion, in music and architecture, in circuit design or literary poetics.”
In my own work I have moved towards a more personal, sometimes fragmentary and often spontaneous method of working; embracing chance and the creative potential of listening as liberating creative tools. Within this practice I continue seeking to expand my areas of knowledge and explore further both collaborative and research-based working methods.