Gemma Nash is a sound artist whose work focuses on re-imagining the ‘othered’ body and the complex relationship between medicine, disability and ethics. She is particularly interested in using rehashed found sounds and other recycled materials to create impressionistic and disjointed pieces.
Nash is involved in a number of national arts-research programmes - such as Around the Toilet, D2Art and Metal LAB. Her work often addresses issues around identity and the objectification of the ‘othered body’. This can been realised in her most recent commissions: Travelling Toilet Tales and The Veins of a Slack Rope Dancer.
Travelling Toilet Tales is an exploration into the ways in which everyday journeys are planned around the un/availability of a suitable toilet. This piece transformed recorded toilet tales provided by storytellers into a soundscape overlaid with animation. It has toured nationally and has been an integral part of the award winning Around the Toilet research project.
The Veins of a Slack Rope Dancer has been inspired by the ancient medical practice of bloodletting. Commissioned by the Thackray Medical Museum, the scarificator bloodletting device is the main source of inspiration. The dreamlike audio arrangements in this piece reflect the precarious and sinister nature of bloodletting contrasted with the visual elegance of the scarificator.
She also works in collaboration with visual artists to produce multisensory works. Her last major collaborative piece ‘Hanging in the Balance’ made use of wet plate processes to illustrate the objectifying impact of austerity upon the disabled community. Produced jointly with historic photographer Michele Selway, this collaborative piece toured across Wales in 2016.
Nash is currently working with the Drake Music Innovation Lab North on a sound investigation exploring how the ‘non-normative voice’ both interrupts our understanding of personhood, and also presents a possibility of transcending vocal perfection. The sound investigation is based upon research Nash presented at this year’s Theorising Normalcy and The Mundane conference hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University.
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