Mouth of Organs: A Material Approach to A Cappella Singing and Contemporary Art Performance
The term "a cappella" typically refers to religious or choral music where the use of instruments in the public worship of the church was seen as inferior to the unaccompanied human voice. Though the term has more recently come to describe any music sung without musical accompaniment, my practice-based research aligns with its more literal translation from the Italian instructing the artist “to sing in the style of the church [chapel]”.
This doctoral project examines in extreme close-up voice and its material intimacy in the context of the gallery, where the intention of the singing artist is to conjure “art” in the real world, rather than, say, an experience of rational worship or spiritual ecstasy.
My research is made possible through the generous support of the Amanda Burton Research Scholarship.
Siôn Parkinson is an artist based in Dundee. His art combines experimental writing, music-making and performance with a focus on singing.
Siôn works with artists and musicians to produce performances, exhibitions and events in venues including: Cafe Oto, Chisenhale Gallery, David Roberts Art Foundation, FormContent, ICA (all London), CCA (Glasgow), Cooper Gallery (Dundee), ChertLünde (Berlin), and SixtyEight Art Institute (Copenhagen).
Alongside his art practice, for over a decade Siôn has worked as an independent curator and producer, collaborating on projects with: Art Angel, Cape Farewell, ICA (all London), ATLAS Arts (Isle of Skye), Reid Gallery (Glasgow), and The McManus Galleries & Museum (Dundee).
Since 2017, he runs Tilde Arts, a curatorial and commissioning practice based in Dundee. Tilde’s inaugural project SONGWORK.org is a field-recording database of workplace noise that aims to inspire a series of new ‘works songs’ for the 21st century.
- Audio culture.
- Ontology of sound.
- Singing as art practice.
- Experimental vocal music.
- Writing for voice.
- Alternative models for practice-based research.
- Perceptual experience of sound, particularly smell.
- MA Fine Art, The Slade School of Art, University College London, 2007-2009
- BA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins College of Art, University of the Arts London, 2003-2005