Artist Statement: ‘Polyphonic Practice’ and the artist as conductor

I am a visual artist, singer-composer and performance maker, working in Bristol UK.

My work spans the mediums of performance, voice, drawing, music composition, sound art, video and artistic direction.

I research historical vocal forms to develop an exploratory contemporary practice around multiplicty, and combinations of ‘voices’.

My works are informed by experimenting with singers’ individual voices as well as my own, and exploring the idiosyncrasies, varied timbral and harmonic qualities of live, mediated and pre-recorded elements.

This cumulates in performances which explore degrees of liveness and human presence in spatial, site relational and experiential ways.

In doing this, I am increasingly interested in how an audience’s presence can influence both the structure and outward manifestation of a work – including the experience of their listening, and the sensory potential of performative ‘encounters’.

To explore these themes, I am currently developing a performance-based compositional practice around concepts of polyphony – the co-presence and interaction of many ‘voices’ – and investigating the interdisciplinary artist as a ‘conductor’ in the widest sense.

Current ongoing project: Site Singing - a pilot project to create voice-based sound works for English Heritage sites.



I am very pleased to have been selected to make a new work for the Edwardian Cloakroom, as part of Bristol City Council’s autumn programme for
Bristol Creative Spaces.

Engaged Voice will be a site-specific vocal sound installation created and installed in the Edwardian Cloakroom.

OPENING EVENT with live performance: 7.30pm, Weds 12th November

Installation open to the public from Thurs 13th - Sun 16th November, 12.30 - 8.30 pm daily

Venue: The Edwardian Cloakroom, corner of Woodland Road and Park Row, Clifton BS1 5LS

More details will appear here nearer the event.

Read more about the work here.

Press release

Engaged Voice-Ellen Southern-The Edwardian Cloakroom-small image-image by artist