CuratorSpace Artist Bursary #8: Katie Bell

Katie Bell is an artist based in Newcastle. Influenced by her work as an audio-visual technician, her practice centres on sculptural sound installation but extends to video, performance, drawing and sculpture. Collaboration and workshops are also essential mechanisms informing her making.

"Influenced by my experience as a female lighting and sound technician, my artistic focus has always leaned towards the technicalities of sound itself and the phenomenological aspects of listening within space, with particular emphasis on sonic qualities such as sub- bass vibration, infrasound and/or multichannel panning to enhance audience experience. Yet I find my work is often not critiqued from a purely sonic or performative perspective but overlooked by visuals; in particular gendered opinions around sound art and technology.

I am currently working on a new body of sculptural sound works challenging these ideas; exploring how to balance the essential functionality of a speaker with its unavoidable visual presence. How might these visuals add to, rather than detract from, the meaning of sound work? Tackling questions surrounding gender stereotypes which feed into my sound art practice, I have begun physically weaving speaker wire to create intricate and visually appealing sound 'tapestries'. The premise of the work is to juxtapose traditionally 'feminine' methods of production with the macho perception of the world of sound art and technology. The time-consuming process contrasts the immediacy of the coding synthesiser technologies I use to produce the sound itself.

I will work with a product designer to produce a large-scale, custom-built weaving loom, based on my maquettes, that can withstand the additional strain of speaker wire. ‚ÄčOnce a speaker is woven, I will then add further detailing with punch embroidery techniques enhancing the storytelling of the sound piece itself. The resulting ‘wall-hanging’ can then play a sound piece of its own making; documenting the labour of the work through stitches translated as code."

You can see and hear more of Katie's work on CuratorSpace or her website

During the pandemic, CuratorSpace have adapted their artist bursaries to support artists with small grants to maintain their art practice. To find out more, click here.

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