SGFA

Sound::Gender::Feminism::Activism (SGFA) is a postgraduate event focused on the role of gender in sound-based arts and experimental musics. The First SGFA took place at CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice), London College of Communication in 2012 and followed upon the Her Noise: Feminisms and the Sonic symposium at Tate Modern in the same year. The aim was to continue and expand upon dialogues and discourses related to feminism and sound and to contribute to a growing network of researchers and practitioners working in these areas.

The first SGFA in 2012 was organised around the need to tap into and to contribute to researchers and practitioners whose work focussed upon the role of gender in sound-based arts and experimental musics and was organised by Cathy Lane, Angus Carlyle, Holly Ingleton, Irene Noy and Iris Garrelfs. Over forty academics, artists, musicians and performers came together for the first of the SGFA events. A loose network of feminist comrades working in sound and music emerged from this event, a fluid community of support, information and affinity.

SGFA::2014 posed the question “What, in the historical present, might constitute an activist life in sound?”. The event incorporated presentations, performances, workshops and screenings and intended to extend the focus on gender and feminism of SGFA::2012 to include a more explicit focus upon sound practices and queer politics.

SGFA::2016 sought to listen together to the complex interplay between the auditory and social protocols of White Noise to further interrogate what and who can be heard in sound arts and experimental musics in the UK.

SGFA::2019::Tokyo sought to investigate the context of sound in all its various creative and theoretical forms, gender and activism. The fourth installment of this regular SGFA forum took place at Tokyo University of the Arts with the aim of sharing research, establishing and extending our pre-existing network of researchers and practitioners working in these areas with those working in Japan and beyond.

The SGFA Zine was published in 2016 including contributions from many of the people who participated in the project’s events over the years. The zine was produced as a celebration of the prolific variety of research and artistic practice which is engaged with aspects of feminist thought, theory and everyday life.

Sound::Gender::Feminism::Activism began… as a an antiphonal call seeking a response; is there anybody out there, where are you, who are you, how are you, is there a ‘we’? Through the DIY tenderness sometimes speaking softly, finding support for needed amplification, curious about who might be listening, who might be sounding, do we sound the same? Can we do this differently? To what? Do we have a microphone? A stand? Why aren’t the amps working? Did you turn the power on? Can you hear me??? Ohh, yes, yes, nettle salad, that’s how we met, up in the sky, tentative greetings in corridors, paper plates, in a lift. Gossip, laughter, anger, frustration, at last together, mirth, kisses, psychedelic unicorns, macho intellectuals and glitter balls. Yes. And No. Of strings and strings, that bind, that are bound to come undone, that are “useful ways of thinking”… “vulvas, bears and lions”. But what draws us together, any more than string? That sound, beating from anger and neglect, a rebellious drumming, a coded communication spat through stubborn teeth in spaces of our own making. Domestic, private, personal, intimate … and loud, loud with friendships emerging through sound. Musical relationships passed on and on, inspired further, held together, tentatively, sing, string snaps. Of feminist utopias and sounding bubbles, sinking, shaped, blown and held afloat again through sheer will in a world of pins and pricks…tom tom tom…