Voice Is The Original Instrument

nyMusikk, Kunsthall Oslo, and 1857 proudly present Voice Is The Original Instrument: Concerts, panel discussion and summer party.

Voice Is The Original Instrument, a mini-festival curated by Mark Beasley in collaboration with Kunsthall Oslo and nyMusikk, presented at 1857, with the voice and vocal experimental expressions in focus.

Four leading composers, vocalists and visual artists present a series of performances that examine the range and scope of vocal performance from its avant-garde beginnings through popular form and back again. Concert performances by the renowned artists Joan La Barbara, Nicholas Bulllen, Sue Tompkins, and Stine Janvin Motland. 

Panel discussion with the artists is held at nyMusikk, the concerts take place at the exhibition space 1857, a former lumberyard with monumental height and accoustics. 


Panel discussion nyMusikk: Odd Mouth Sound
6pm: Joan La Barbara, Nicholas Bullen, Sue Tompkins and Stine Janvin Motland discuss there varying approaches to vocal composition; the meeting of visual art and vocal sound and what it means to “vocal fry” and “death grunt!”  
Moderated by curator Mark Beasley. 

Concert 1857
7:30pm: Doors open
8:00 pm: Concerts starts, approx. 30 min. each
Stine Janvin Motland, Sue Tompkins, Nicholas Bullen, Joan La Barbara
10pm: Summer party

American composer and singer Joan La Barbara’s seminal work Voice is the Original Instrument (1976) and her collaborations with composers John Cage, Steve Reich and Robert Ashley and visual artist’s Bruce Nauman, Judy Chicago and Matthew Barney connect the worlds of music, performance and visual art: her early works are recognized classics of the form and set the bar for subsequent extended vocal techniques and vocal composition. 

As a founding member of Napalm Death and Scorn and with recent solo-vocal project Alienist, British musician Nicholas Bullen’s extreme vocals helped found the Grindcore genre and continue to push the voice to the edge of discernible meaning and comprehension. 

One time singer of cult Glasgow based band Life Without Buildings, Sue Tompkin’s vocal performances and text works provide a unique perspective on the meeting of text and voice, her performances deconstruct the phraseology of the pop song and recontextualize them as sculptured poesis. 

Berlin based Norwegian vocalist Stine Janvin Motland works with experimental music, sound and audio-visual performance: her recent performance creates illusory electronic music from acoustic voice alone.

Mark Beasley is a curator, writer and artist based in New York.

The project is kindly supported by Oslo kommune.

18 June



Free entrance

nyMusikk, Platous gate 18
1857, Tøyenbekken 12

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