Tansy Spinks

Tansy Spinks

Completed PhD Student

2008 - 2015

Tansy Spinks has a PhD from UAL, a BA in Fine Art from Leeds Polytechnic, an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art and is a Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music (violin).

Her sound performances have taken place in many venues and sites including the V&A, Camden Arts Centre, the Horse Hospital, Beaconsfield, Parasol Unit, Pitzhanger Manor, a seafort off the North Kent coast, Wimbledon Space, Brixton Market, a lift, Chelsea College of Arts, staircases in Edinburgh and Wolverhampton Universities, White Cube, Bermondsey and on top of a windmill. Her practice-based PhD research involving live, site specific, associative sound performance, was based in the department of Creative Research into Sound Art Practice (CRiSAP) at London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London with Angus Carlyle, David Toop and Cathy Lane.

She has exhibited widely both at home and internationally and her photographic works are in the Fine Art Museum in Houston, Texas and the National Museum of Media in Bradford. Many of her images have been used by the major book and music publishers, for jackets and covers.

She is a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Middlesex University and a VL at Camberwell College of Art. External examining posts have been held at Hertfordshire University, Manchester Metropolitan University and currently in Media Arts at Plymouth University. She lives and works in London.

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Associating Places: Strategies for Live, Site Specific, Sound Art Performance

The thesis brings together different disciplines in art, music, sound studies and performance. The methodology, contextually indebted to the dialogues of site specific art, performance and sound improvisation, is a multi-disciplinary one, informed in part by the study of artists from the 1960s who actively sought to resist the gallery system. The practice, (represented by twenty or so works in the thesis portfolio) tested and developed the requirement to respond uniquely to chosen sites. By using relevant references, instruments and sonified materials, something of the site’s associations was conveyed through sound and performed on site.

I propose that there are essentially three aspects to identify when working with sound on site. I define these as: the actual, the activated, and the associative. The first aspect describes what is inherent to the place, the second what can be encouraged to be ‘sounded’ through physical intervention and the third, crucially, outlines and forms what I have coined as the latent material of the site. This term draws on any relevant aspects of the social, physical, historical, anecdotal and aural associations that a site may proffer.

By addressing this new taxonomy of approach, in defining the actual, the activated and the associative (the three ‘a’s), significant live sound art works have been developed to temporarily inhabit a space and to propose a new paradigm of live, site specific, performed, sound art. This strategic model is offered to others as a valuable method in the devising of site specific works.

Read the full abstract and PhD here