The Voice and Nothing More (vanm), curated by Sam Belinfante and Neil Luck, was a week-long festival exploring the voice as both medium and subject matter in contemporary arts practices. Both established and emerging artists worked with leading vocal performers and composers in an exploration of the voice outside language.
vanm is symptomatic of a growing interest in the voice across arts practices and was intended to give leading visual art practitioners the opportunity to work with some of the most important singers and vocal ensembles in the UK today. Importantly, vanm was the product of a desire to encourage conversations between the contemporary arts communities that will elucidate art’s complicated relationship with the voice as well as generate new processes and strategies for engaging with it. Instead of merely placing musicians and artists in one space, vanm facilitated an ongoing discourse in and around the voice with the production of new ambitious, collaborative, artworks as well as the formation of new working practices.
Artists and performers came together to generate exciting new collaborative works. Invited performers included Mikhail Karikis, Lore Lixembourg and Juice, as well as a specially formed large-scale vocal ensemble. Performers, working with the artists and resident composer Claudia Molitor, created new score-objects culminating in a series of new performances. Artists Martin Creed, Simon Faithfull, Dryden Goodwin, Bruce Mclean and Cornelia Parker along with emerging artists Athanasios Argianas, Amy Cunningham, Nick Laessing, Phoebe Unwin and Sarah Kate Wilson were just some of the 50+ artists taking part.
To help launch the festival leading artist and educator Simon Morris held a lecture on the voice on Wednesday 14 January. The festival culminated with a presentation of groundbreaking objects/installations/performances, open to the public on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 January 2009.