Louise O’Connor is a multimedia artist, musician, performer and composer.
She has received two separate commissions from Nottingham Contemporary to create and perform new musical works in response to their film program. Other sound commissions include remixes for the band Dog Chocolate, for the release of their album Snack Fans (Upset the Rhythm), and a soundscape field recording composition to document a community garden before it was to be demolished.
She is currently developing her own solo project, after many years producing a body of electronic and vocal compositions.
The work in progress stage moniker for her own pieces, Cacator, came from a piece of Ancient Roman graffiti – Cacator Cave Malum, (meaning ‘Defecator, beware the evil eye’), a nod to her ongoing love of history and particular interest in the Romans.
She studied at Goldsmiths and The Royal College of Art. During her studies, a fascination with sound led to a focus on creating interactive musical installations – exploring new ways for audiences to interact with sound and composition, and in turn, the thinking about the way that sound can affect how you interact with the world. These included a computer vision system that could interpret hand drawn ‘scores’ of line and colour into sound, a musical walk way instrument, which created sound when danced on and a pair of curtains that opened and moved to voice. She also began to ‘circuit bend’ simple electronic items to create new musical instruments.
Following this, she joined alternative all girl choir Gaggle, led by Deborah Coughlin. With them, she performed across the UK and Europe, as well as recording an album – ‘From the Mouth of the Cave’ released on Transgressive Records, and an EP, ‘The Brilliant and the Dark’, recorded live at the ICA - a project remixing a forgotten cantata for women’s voices, ironically about women’s history itself. Other highlights of this time include performing in a retelling of the ancient play Lysistrata at The Almeida Theatre, creating an improvised choral response to classical paintings in The National Gallery and being invited to create a film as part of the ‘Random Acts’ series screened on Channel 4.
She is now a member of punk choral ensemble Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business, in which she sings and plays Micro-korg synthesizer, Glockenspiel, xylophone and percussion. They have just finished recording an EP and have performed at venues such as Battersea Arts Centre, Café Oto, Supernormal Festival and Jupiter Rising. She has also performed as a backing vocalist for bands including My Morning Jacket, Flamingods and Trash Kit.
She is a regular collaborator of artist Fay Nicolson, appearing Nicolson’s performances which combine acapella singing, spoken word and movement. She has performed with Nicolson at The Brunel Museum for her project ‘Spa Songs’ which explored a hidden history of Bemondsey, ‘Lelia Gone’ at Art Night Walthamstow and most recently ‘Bone Breath Gesture.’
She is also a regular collaborator of artist Andrew Kerr. For his recent exhibition ‘Studio Clown Knowm’, at Set, Lewisham in London, she was invited to compose in the space for a day, presenting results to the public in the evening and also to create an experimental vocal workshop for the public. This lead to Voice Notes – an experiment in bringing untrained singers together to create playful improvised pieces in response to their environment and the objects in it. They are currently developing this together into a series.
She lives and works in London.