Aly Nack: Extra Credit (Lesley Flanigan)

Extra Credit:

Visiting Artist: Lesley Flanigan

“Lesley Flanigan is a New York-based vocalist, artist, composer and performer. Inspired by the tangible elements of electronic sound, she builds her own instruments using minimal electronics, microphones and speakers. Performing these instruments alongside traditional instrumentation that often includes her own voice, she creates a kind of physical electronic music that embraces both the transparency and residue of process — sculpting sound from a pallet of noise and subtle imperfections.” She studied sculpture at the Ringling College of Art and Design, and received a masters in art technology from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University.

I was very surprised by this lecture. Honestly I did not really think I was going to enjoy it, because I am not very interested in artists that use sound as their main component. But overall I thought it was very intriguing. I really enjoyed how she opened the lecture by playing a clip from “Sleepy”. She stated that she uses this clip because it allows the audience to hear the speaker feed back as well as her voice, and it is a more simplistic pairing of sound. Then she went more into depth about her background. I felt this allowed the audience to get more of a sense of what she does before learning about her background. I thought it was very interesting that she actually has a background in sculpture and singing rather then music or electronics. With this she also mentioned that at first she felt it was unnatural for her to bring singing and sculpture together. She stated that the important part of sculpture is being able to let your body guide you and to touch something of physical form, so once she was able to build her own instruments, like “Speaker Synth” it combined the element of sound and sculpture. From there she went on describing how she started to create individual speakers, but for installation rather then performance because she was not quite ready to combine both elements. Although slowly she got more comfortable with the idea of performing, she is still more comfortable being described as a sculptor rather then a composer or performer. After describing her process she went into more detail about some of her work, such as “Amplifications” which has also been released as an album. I thought it was great that she kept describing the sound of the speakers as “dirty, dusty sound” with such enthusiasm. It helped the audience to understand her love for the raw sounds of speaker feedback. She ended the lecture with “Broken”, which is one of my favorites she showed. She had herself along with other singers place microphones up to their throats and told them to sing through the speakers/microphones, and the sounds were just incredible. It almost reminds me of something I have heard before, but at the same time I feel like I have never heard anything like it; it was the strangest feeling.

In all, this lecture was very well done. She showed her enthusiasm for her work and therefore had no problem drawing the audience in. I liked how she really explained her process in a way that was easier to understand, but still let enough of her personality shine through so that the audience really felt they got to know her.

you can also watch one of her videos, if you missed the lecture, just click here


Works cited:

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