Sound I’m Particular: Leila Johnston, 8th June 2018

Leila Johnston Sound I'm Particular

The Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) presents Sound I’m Particular, a series of Pay What You Decide talks held at The Old Fire Station, Oxford. 

These evening events will take place between April 2018 and April 2019, 7:00-9:00pm.

Sound I’m Particular is a Pay What You Decide talk series that aims to provide a forum to discuss and interrogate listening as both subject and object, exploring the various guises of contemporary listening practices with talks and demonstrations by artists and academics from all over the country; ranging from topics such as augury and Nan Shepherd, to Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf, to field recording and Twin Peaks.

All are welcome and no previous knowledge of the subjects is necessary.

 Curated by Patrick Farmer and Harriet Butler. 


Friday 8th June, 7:00–9:00pm

Leila Johnston: Finding Your Music


Writer and artist Leila Johnston will talk about the ways in which sound, music and rhythm have been routes to truth in her practice. She will share lessons from several extraordinary collaborators who have influenced her thinking about the value of sound, including professional dancers, and a synaesthete composer.

Leila’s work is part of a tradition which combines folklore and mythology with science and tech. Always with an eye on the transcendent and mysterious, her outputs have ranged from immersive digital installations to playful live shows, books, radio comedy, magazines and podcasts.

The mischievous creations started early, secretly recording comedy sketches and prank calls onto cassettes as a young child, and only got more elaborate and subversive with time. In 2015, Leila’s creative collective, Hack Circus, produced an immersive comedy musical, Underworlds – a one-night-only sell-out event in London, involving puppets, in-character lectures, and audience singalongs. Hack Circus brought art, science and technology themes together under the banner of ‘everyday magic’, and Leila was interviewed about the project for The Independent, The Times, BBC Click, The Guardian and many more.

In 2016, Leila was the first digital artist in residence at the UK’s leading contemporary dance company, Rambert – a fascinating and eye-opening experience where she began to understand dancers’ identity as special musicians. She will cover some highlights of this experience, in this talk.

She has recently completed a residency about AI and apocalypses, where she considered digital’s relationship to time, religion and waiting, and is currently creating digital mermaids, in tanks, for people’s offices and living rooms. Leila lives in Sheffield, where she works part-time as Digital Curator for the Site Gallery.

SARU is part of MA in Sonic Art at Oxford Brookes University, and provides a forum for dialogue and exploration between the fields of composition and sonic art. Areas of further focus include electroacoustic and language based composition, interdisciplinary practices, field recording and auditory knowledge. SARU is bolstered by a community of practitioners.

Sound I'm Particular 2018:19 MASTER