Introduction: Her Noise Herstory
The Her Noise project, originally commissioned in 2005 by cocurators Lina Džuverović and Anne Hilde Neset, was intended to “investigate music and sound histories in relation to gender and to bring together a wide network of women artists who use sound as a medium.”1
This project, the development of which initially began in 2001 and was originally a collaboration between Džuverović and Neset working with Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, and American independent filmmaker Andrew Kesin, took four years to develop fully, finally occurring in 2005. The culmination of the project included a five-week exhibition at the South London Gallery, which housed five main installations: Christina Kubisch’s Security; Jutta Koether and Kim Gordon’s Reverse Karaoke; Hayley Newman’s Miniflux; Kaffe Matthews’s Sonic Bed; and Emma Hedditch’s We’re Alive, Let’s Meet! Her Noise also extended to additional events with a performance of Marina Rosenfeld’s Emotional Orchestra opening the Her Noise season in the Turbine Hall of London’s Tate Modern and Kubisch’s land-sound-art installation Electrical Walks. Consecutively, Kim Gordon and Jutta Koether presented their collaborative work at the Her Noise Talks held at Tate Modern, and sound artist Melanie Clifford presented a weekly radio program for the duration of the exhibition on London’s art radio station, Resonance fm. There were also weekly scheduled performances throughout the exhibition by Ana Da Silva of the Raincoats and performance artist Anne Bean, among others.
From its inception, the Her Noise project was developed as a multifaceted program intended to extend over time and to critique normative classifications of experimental and sound-based music and art. A vital though somewhat distinct [End Page 77] element of Her Noise as a whole is the Her Noise Archive, the development of which could be considered as providing a basis or backbone of research for the entire project. Džuverović and Neset, who had begun working collaboratively in 2003 with Hedditch and with one of the original cofounders of London’s Ladyfest, Irene Revell, conducted and filmed over twenty interviews with women and men working in experimental and sound-based music and arts in both Europe and America. These interviews formed the foundations of the Her Noise Archive. The collaborators also collected a wide range of music, zines, books, and films exploring narratives and networks of people working in experimental and sound-based musics and arts and charted postpunk, no-wave, diy aesthetics, and riot grrrl music histories with a focus on gender. The Her Noise Archive, as collected up to 2005, was exhibited at the South London Gallery alongside and between each of the five main installations identified above in such a way that the Her Noise Archive of 2005 may be considered as an additional installation, rhizomatically connecting all the threads of the Her Noise project.
In mid-2010 the Her Noise Archive was acquired by crisap (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice) at London College of Communication (lcc), University of the Arts London (ual), when the documentation from the entire project, ranging from its inception in 2001 up to 2010, was cataloged. The documentation included unedited footage gathered before, during, and after the exhibition in 2005; administrative materials regarding the development of the project; press clippings; installation artifacts; recordings; artist biographies; proposals; and related audio-visual and written documents that were instrumental to the development of the project and also included the original Her Noise Archive of 2005. This expanded the original Her Noise Archive to include its own makings, in effect creating an archive within an archive, all of which comprises what is now known as the Her Noise Archive.2
Since 2010 there have been various events in response to the Her Noise Archive; the “Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic” symposium at London’s Tate Modern, which included a restaging of Pauline Oliveros’s 1970s score To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation; the Sound:Gender:Feminism:Activism postgraduate research events hosted by crisap at the London College of Communication; the “Her Noise: Vocal Folds” symposium at...