Olivia Louvel


Olivia Louvel is a French-born British composer and artist whose work draws on voice, computer music and digital narrative. Her work is presented in the form of sound recordings, sound art installations, video art, and live performances.

Louvel often operates at the intersection of creation and documentation. Throughout her extensive research on Barbara Hepworth, she produced ‘The Sculptor Speaks’ (2020) a resounding of a Barbara Hepworth archival tape, which was premiered on Resonance Extra and followed by an audio-visual version presented at The Hepworth Wakefield in 2021, and at Towner in 2023. ‘SculptOr’ is a suite of nine pieces based on Hepworth’s writings released as a digipak CD.

Installation works include: ‘LOL’ (2022), a site-specific sonic intervention reflecting the current state of political affairs in Britain, delivered through the public address system of Middlesbrough’s CCTV surveillance network; ‘Doggerland Channels’ (2022), a generative sound-relief based on the ancient land which once linked Britain to the continent, premiered at Phoenix Art Space for Sound Art Brighton, and reinstalled at Middlesbrough Art Week, 2023;  and ’The Whole Inside’ (2019), a generative sound mural exploring the violent misogyny of the Incels.

Other compositional and audio-visual works include: ‘doggerLANDscape’ (2023), a video art on the submerged forest of Doggerland; ‘Not A Creature Of Paper’ (2019) a Louise Labé inspired composition for avant-garde ensemble Juice Vocal, premiered at Kings Place; ’Data Regina’ (2017), a multimedia suite based on Mary Queen of Scots’ writings through an interactive digital platform - Arts Council funded; and ‘Afraid of Women’ (2016), an audio-visual piece raising awareness for Rojava, the autonomous zone in Northern Syria.

The outcome of her practice is increasingly hybrid at the interface of voice and sculpture, ranging from: applying principles of sculpture to directly carve the voice of Barbara Hepworth; working in sound art with miniature speakers to conceive generative sound murals; 3D printing her voice for a series of 'VoiceScape'; and testing the relationship of voice and sculpture acoustically within Lukas Kühne’s site-specific sound sculpture ‘Tvísöngur’ in Iceland.

With ‘LOL’, she won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Sound Art at the Ivors Classical Awards 2023. ‘The Sculptor Speaks’ was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in the Sound Art category at the Ivors Composer Awards 2020.  ‘The Whole Inside’ was selected for the Longlist at the Aesthetica Art Prize 2021, and is published in the ‘Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology: Future Now.’

Olivia Louvel is a PhD candidate (2021-) at the University of Brighton, investigating the interplay of voice and sculpture. Previously, she completed a MA in Digital Music and Sound Art from DMSA, University of Brighton. Her research on resounding the voice of Barbara Hepworth brought her to deliver a talk for the Yorkshire Sound Women Network and the Hepworth Research Network (2021. Her article ’A Generative Sound Mural, The Whole Inside: Sounding the body’ (2020) is published by Leonardo Music Journal, MIT Press.

In 2018, she toured throughout the UK presenting a headline audio-visual set of ‘Data Regina’ for ‘Synth Remix’, an event curated by Benjamin Tassie under Sound and Music's Composer-Curator scheme. 

She has recently presented her work at Towner (Eastbourne, 2023); Middlesbrough Art Weekender (2022); Phoenix Art Space (2022); The Hepworth Wakefield (2021); Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff, 2020); King’s Place (London, 2019); De La Warr (Bexhill, 2019); Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, 2018); Anthony Burgess Foundation (Manchester, 2018).