ADDICTION 2017 //
Cello, Flute and Make-Up Artist.
Scored on worn clothing.
ORIGINAL COMPOSITION Geoffa Fells
FLUTE Katie MacDonald
CELLO Lucy French
MAKE-UP ARTIST Morgan Schoonover
PHOTO Andreea Tufesca
'Addiction' investigated the relationship between trauma and addiction, both visually and musically.
The music was scored onto clothing and printed on in reverse so that the performers could read the notation via mirrors.
Performed in the studio theatre of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the make-up artist was instructed to cover any scars or wounds seen in the mirrors. Using foundation and plasters, she gradually coated the mirror surfaces. This obscured the the performers view of the scores printed on themselves, revealing silence.
GEOFFIAN MOON 2021 //
Violin, Flute, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Vocal Improvisation,
Electronics Track and Video.
COMPOSITION & VIDEO & VOCALS Geoffa Fells
VIOLIN Beatriz Rola
FLUTE Ine Vanoeveren
TRUMPET Sean Pepper
TROMBONE Thomas Moore
TUBA Bob Payne
Part of a greater project titled 'Inhabiting and Exoplanet', Geoffian Moon is one of a
collection of immersive worlds based upon embodied experiences of composers who are survivors of trauma. Using a process of meditation and daydreaming practice to connect with what is felt inside the body, these embodied experiences are communicated through the metaphor of navigating and inhabiting the surface of distant planets. Each of these planets has an atmosphere, gravity, temperature and terrain that is different from our own familiar Earth. Research into Rae Johnson’s ‘Embodied Social Justice’ and bell hooks’ feminist theory has prompted our inquiry into finding new ways to communicate embodied experience. We all inhabit bodies that are capable of both oppressing others and being oppressed and oppression, whether based upon gender, race, ability or age, is similarly held and experienced inside the body, impacting how we feel, move and communicate.
Taking inspiration from the text scores of Pauline Oliveros, particularly her notion of ‘listening inwards’ for sound, instrumental lines explore specific frustrations in relation to managing feelings of disconnection, numbness, anger and restlessness. The movement of performers will also be captured sonically through noise making materials like survival blankets. Sounds and textures form planetary landscapes
that have emerged naturally in response to listening inwards and spending time responding to the body’s need to move or engage with grounding techniques.
OCTOPUS 2020 //
Flute, Electric Guitar, Trombone, Piano, Vocal Improvisation,
Electronics and Video.
Trigger warning - reference to sexual violence
Octopus explores the lives of survivors of sexual violence. It uses the metaphor of an octopus who blends its colours to match the deep sea environment to survive the waves and currents representing society’s misconceptions about survivors and pervasive rape culture. Inspired by survivors’ self-reported interoceptive drawings of how emotions manifest in the body as well as their accounts of the importance of creativity in healing, the piece shows a gradual growth from sounds and visuals about blending, hiding and surviving to ones about expression, confidence and communication. Metaphor and representation help to make this difficult, painful subject easier to discuss and interrogate. I chose the deep sea Octopus because it is an intelligent, perceptive and resilient survivor, able to withstand huge pressures and adapt to hostile environments. With survivors often facing disbelief or blame for not fighting back, the Octopus’s varied and colourful survival systems offer scope to show a full range of responses to trauma and validate them.
ORIGINAL COMPOSITION & VIDEO Geoffa Fells
FLUTE Ine Vanoeveren
ELECTRIC GUITAR Marcelo Lazcano
TROMBONE Thomas Moore
PIANO Umut Eldem
VOCAL IMPROVISATION Kate Smith
The deep seas are an under-researched, largely unknown territory, with 95 percent of the sea floor remaining unmapped. The dark and murky waters of sexual violence resonates with with this landscape. Strong currents of rape culture flow around us, often unseen and sometimes ignored, but affecting us all in some form. Through the piece, the staleness and suffocating nature of this culture plays out through breath holding sounds and moments of visual blankness. This contrasts with the sections about engaging with creative outlets and expression, which visually dissipate the the flow of rape culture, changing their course to form powerful, kaleidoscopic ripples of colour. When survivors are believed and supported, the narratives that act as the scaffolding to sexual violence are questioned and change course.
This piece is made with animated paintings, electronics track and scored instrumental parts and forms part of Geoffa Fells' 'Sounding Equality' PhD at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.
DOORS 2020 //
Voice, Trumpet, Electronics and Art Installation
Trigger Warning - reference to sexual violence
A composition for spoken voice, sopranos and trumpets with an electronics track of recordings of the dragging and shutting of 14 different doors. Questioning some of the destructive elements that can arise when unrealistic and unfair expectations, pressures and views are held around masculinity.
This piece formed part of an installation along the dividing line between the girls side and the boys side of an old primary school. This piece played on repeat with the spinning of my colourful, gender-fluid windmills in the wind.
COMPOSITION, VOICE, TRUMPET, VIDEO, VISUAL ART - Geoffa Fells
BREAKING POINT 2017 //
Video, Electronics and two flutes, two violins and cello.
ORIGINAL COMPOSITION/VIDEO Geoffa Fells
FLUTES Katie MacDonald, Clara Yang
VIOLINS Beatriz Rola, Magda Barszcz
CELLO Lucy French
Breaking Point was performed live at the Barbican Exhibition Halls in November 2017 and was written to begin to lift the lid on the complexities behind surviving gender based violence, particularly in regard to the relationship with the self. Why do we project anger towards ourselves and why are we so critical of ourselves both now and in our analyses of our past selves?
The wine and glasses are used both sonically and visually to communicate pressure and breaking point, reflecting my research on stress, the fight/flight/freeze response and 'fractology'. Fractology is the study of 'how and why glass breaks' and looks at the pattern of glass breakage to find the cause of failure. The tiny surface in-discrepancies that influence breaking point and the resulting cracks and forking patterns resonated with my knowledge of the toll that abuse takes on a person or relationship and how it leads us to focus on tiny flaws in ourselves instead of looking the meaningful decisions and interactions we make every day.