Announcing our Open Call Artists for 2018/19

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Thanks to the generous support of Help Musicians UK’s National Grants Programme, Open Call is an initiative to support music creators in laboratory-style commissions; offering opportunities to challenge compositional practice, explore working in new ways and provoke dialogue between composers, ideas and audiences. In 2018/2019, we are working with Rich Mix to support three artists to execute their project idea inspired by this year’s provocation – Culture for a Changing City. We have selected Alicia Jane Turner, Julia Koelmans and Laura Guarch who over the coming months will work towards a public work-in-progress showing in June 2019. Find out more about this year’s Open Call artists and their project ideas below.

Alicia Jane Turner is a composer, performance artist, sound designer and violinist whose work spans theatre, live art and new classical music. Her practice focuses on the visceral affectivity of sound in interdisciplinary performance, using sound to ask questions about physicality, identity and intimacy, and the gendered politics of noise. She was a composition fellow at the Bang on a Can 2018 Summer Festival where her new ensemble works were premiered, and has toured internationally with her collaborative and solo theatre works, including Breathe (Everything Is Going To Be Okay), This Is How We Die and Kissing The Shotgun Goodnight with Christopher Brett Bailey.

“For Open Call, I will create an interdisciplinary new music performance with my collaborators Nicol Parkinson, Rodent and Lisa Busby that fuses the aesthetics of noise with new classical music, electronics, playback media manipulation and experimental instrumentation. Formed from the noise of our city’s changing landscape, this immersive, theatrical piece will interrogate the threat of closure faced by London’s queer spaces due to new property development.”

Do you remember the sound of the closing door of the house you grew up in?
Julia Koelmans is a musician, sound artist, workshop leader and educator, and likes to think about such questions. She started playing the piano as a little girl, practising next to a door that she particularly remembers the sound of. Julia is fascinated by environmental sounds and listening, and explores in her work how we perceive and relate to place. Previous works have been performed and presented at the Barbican Exhibition Halls during Curious Festival, at The Charterhouse during Barbican Open Fest, in Milton Court Studio Theatre and in Tate Modern during Tate Exchange: From Silence, as part of a larger work by Curious Collective.

“London is in constant motion; it is fast and busy and works around the clock to accommodate an even busier and faster life. The speed of life, and the need for a higher speed, often seems to determine London’s character. For me, this goes hand in hand with a sense of disconnection to the place where I live. The faster I have to go, the less I seem to experience where I am, what is around me and how I relate to that place.

As an act of counterbalancing, I will explore the city from the opposite perspective. What are the quiet and slow qualities of this place? What are the things that stay as they are, in between the fast and loud? By combining field recordings and instrumental composition, I would like to paint sonic pictures of Tower Hamlets, the home borough of Spitalfields Music and Rich Mix, looking at it from a quiet angle.”

Laura Guarch is a singer, composer, performance maker and pedagogue from Catalonia based in the UK. Drawing from her rich experiences with a cappella, live-looping performance and busking, her research focuses on creating choral and sonic interventions in public space that respond to citizens’ experience of the city and politics of private and public space.

Her recent works include the audio-walk Float presented at Totally Thames Festival 2018, the promenade oratorio Defence to Forbid for the MA Performance Making festival at Goldsmiths College and the sound installation Capses at Inund’art Contemporary Arts Festival (Spain). She sings with a number of choirs and bands in London and has toured her solo project ‘Street Vocals’ around Europe since 2014.

“My Open Call project explores the contrasting social interaction and behaviour rules of privately-owned public spaces and public areas in Tower Hamlets. It engages local communities to reflect on how we use, are allowed to use and would like to use public spaces, imagining how imposed and enforced regulations may impact community life and display social inequalities.

The project articulates and choreographs vocal music into public space responding to the urban landscape, immersing the audience in a vocal promenade performance about public space, in public space.”