Graduate Show 2019: Olivia Louvel: Digital Music and Sound Arts

I am a sound practitioner, composer. Drawing on voice, computer music and digital narrative, I work at the intersection of creation and documentation, often taking for a point of departure, existing texts, from archives. 

Some of my work is often inspired by iconic feminine figures. I have developed an interest in artists who document their creative process and lives. A few icons I treasure, coming to mind now, Agnès Varda, Louise Bourgeois, Niki De Saint Phalle, Laurie Anderson…

My practice is built upon a long-standing exploration of the voice, sung or spoken, and its manipulation through digital technology, as a compositional method.

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Please tell us about your final year project

 My piece ‘The Whole Inside’ (This text should be spoken at rate 0) is for 9 speaker drivers and data projection. I worked in a field I had never explored before, working with hardware, soldering cables to speakers and challenging myself with Pure Data, which I used to randomise each audio sample.

The Whole Inside is a generative audio visual installation for nine audio channels, a sound mural combining artificial and human voices, expanding the plastic dimension of voice on contouring the body. The work confronts femininity and abuse, when the body is being depersonalised, subsequently dissociated as a defence mechanism to cope with a traumatic event. I have taken for starting point a text sourced from the Incels (short for involuntary celibates)forum. On debating how to murder a woman, some members of the Incels community propose diverse actions, one being to rape her then to “take a surgical knife, cut open her abdominal area and remove the organs”. It is not an easy piece.


How have you found your course/time at Brighton?

I have learnt so much, I can’t believe the end is in sight, time flies!

As a self-taught practitioner, I felt the need to expand my critical thinking skills and knowledge. Therefore, I embarked -as a mature student-  on the Digital Music and Sound Art BA at the University of Brighton. I enjoyed thoroughly studying at DMSA. The theory was the most fascinating for me, allowing me to join many dots, revealing new fields of interest.

Last year, I had the possibility of developing a gesturally based performance art installation for an audience of ‘one’ with the Mi. Mu gloves, ‘54 Bones’, which I performed at ONCA gallery, part of the Brighton Digital Festival. This was a collaborative project with fellow students from my year.  Overall my degree has been a rich and stimulating experience.


What are your plans after Graduation?

I am hoping I will get the opportunity to reinstall my work ‘The Whole Inside’ in a gallery, with the potential of developing further work in the field of sound art.

I am currently mixing a new album, 9 tracks, inspired by the writings of Barbara Hepworth, with a release planned early 2020. I have been commissioned by contemporary vocal trio Juice Vocal to write a composition, which shall be performed at Kings Place, London next October. I am also hoping to pursue my studies with a MA…

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