Barbara Ellison (Ireland/Netherlands) is a composer and visual artist living and working in The Hague.
Her work explores a ghostly presence and substance in a plethora of sonic and visual realms. Playing and exploiting the phenomenon of pareidolia and apophenia, she creates audio/visual works manifesting as live performance, installation, drawings, videos, computer animation, photographs, prints, sound recordings and sound compositions.
Through her work and research with ‘Phantoms’, She explores states of auditory and visual ambiguity working with materials that are either naturally ambiguous or have been ‘composed’ or created to attain this quality, in order to exploit the potential for apophenia to manifest, bringing with it what she calls a ‘phantasmatic’ presence.
For the creation of this work, She has developed a syncretic approach that encompasses and coalesces all kinds of sources, materials, techniques and creative tools: from exploring and performing with the sonic intricacies of amplified objects (Drawing Phantoms), creating voice avatars with trans-human capabilities (Vocal Phantoms), creating ‘Phantom Portraits’ or carrying out field expeditions from diverse environments such as the Arctic, the Himalayas, or the Amazonian rainforest (Natural Phantoms).
She is active in the music and art scene of The Netherlands with her solo work and collaborative collectives Trickster and composer collective Female Effects and has travelled and performed internationally as a solo artist.
Ellison has performed and presented her work recently at festivals such as as Dag in De Branding (Den Haag), MAZE festival 2017 (Bimhuis), Electronic Extravaganza Festival 2017(Splendor), UBIK/WORM, Rotterdam, L’Audible festival (Paris), ASIMUTH (Loos Studio,Den Haag), Centro Puertas de Castilla,Murcia (Spain), Volumens festival (Valencia), STÖRUNG Festival 9 (Barcelona), Modern Body Festival (Den Haag), Fringe festival (Amsterdam), ‘Test Extra’ Nutshuis (Den Haag), TodaysArt festival (Den Haag), Monotak festival OT3 (Amsterdam), Liquid Architecture (Melbourne/Sydney) and Venice architectural Biennale (Venice).
She has also undertaken field recording expeditions all over the world – such as Baffin Island, Nunavut, Arctic (2010), Amazon, Brazil (2011), Svaneti, Georgia (2012), Danum Valley rainforest in Borneo (2012), Cardamom rainforest, Cambodia (2013), Mmabolela, South Africa (2013/14/15), Iceland and Australia (2013) & Chile and Bolivia (2015) and Himalayas (Mustang, Nepal (2016), Tanzania (2016).
She has a PhD from the University of Huddersfield, UK (‘Sonic Phantoms’) and co-ordinates and teaches the Sonology Education minor programme (Loco-Lab) at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. She co-ordinates and co-produces the Sonic Mmabolela artists residency and workshop with Francisco López, in South Africa.