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Research Focus:

Sound Art; critical mental health; first-person madness narratives; trauma; acousmatic sound

Publications: 

Research Repository

The work of Australian sound artist Thembi Soddell offers a distinct voice in Australian experimental music. Working across recording, composition, performance, installation, sound design and dramaturg, they are best known for their powerful, dynamic acousmatic compositions of “startling, even hallucinatory, intensity” (New Zealand Listener 2012). Drawing upon their own lived experiences of depression, anxiety, chronic illness, disability and trauma, their uncompromising artist voice reveals “just how personal laptop music can be” (Resonate Magazine 2014).

In 2019, Thembi completed a practice-based PhD at RMIT University, titled “A Dense Mass of Indecipherable Fear: The Experiential (Non)Narration of Trauma and Madness through Acousmatic Sound.” This research investigated the use of sound art practice as metaphor for understanding lived experiences of so-called mental illness, challenging many misconceptions prevalent in mental health fields. Their CD and book release, Love Songs (2018), which grew from this research, explored the affective impact of insidious abusive within intimate relationships. It has been praised for its “innovative approach to form” (Fluid Radio 2018) and “fearless conceptual framework” (Self-Titled Magazine 2018). Its launch at The SUBSTATION won the 2019 Green Room Award for Contemporary Sound Performance. 

Thembi’s work has been presented at numerous Australian experimental arts and music festivals such as MONA FOMA, Liquid Architecture, Tura New Music, Festival of Live Arts, Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Bendigo International Festival of Exploratory Music, The Now Now, Next Wave, Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival, and the Melbourne International Biennale of Exploratory Music. Presentations have also extended across major galleries, such as the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Institute of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Gallery of Modern Art, National Gallery of Australia, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Thembi’s work also has firm international reach, including concerts at Audiorama (Sweden), Hoerkunstfestival (Germany), Instants Chavirés (France) and Mengi (Iceland), to name a small few. Their installation, Window (2008), was also curated into “Sound Full: Sound in Contemporary Australian and New Zealand Art,” by Caleb Kelly and Aaron Kreisler, touring to Dunedin Public Art Gallery (2012) and Wellington City Gallery (2013), New Zealand. They have also guest curated for the National Gallery of Victoria. Thembi lives on Dja Dja Wurrung land, in the rural Victorian town of Clunes. They are a second-generation Polish migrant with combined English/Irish colonial-settler descent.

Renata Kokanović

Renata Kokanović

Tania Lewis

Tania Lewis

Anna Urbanowicz

Anna Urbanowicz

Cameron Duff

Cameron Duff

Monica Barratt

Monica Barratt

Jacinthe Flore

Jacinthe Flore

Jonathan Duckworth

Jonathan Duckworth

Keely Macarow

Keely Macarow

Larissa Hjorth

Larissa Hjorth

Amber Domberelli

Amber Domberelli

Tania Cañas

Tania Cañas

Anne Harris

Anne Harris

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson

Felicity Callard

Felicity Callard

Pete Chambers

Pete Chambers

Olga Kokshagina

Olga Kokshagina

Brianna Chesser

Brianna Chesser

Robyn Moffitt

Robyn Moffitt

Leah Heiss

Leah Heiss

Juan Sanin

Juan Sanin

Ruth De Souza

Ruth De Souza

Thembi Soddell

Thembi Soddell

Michelle Turner

Michelle Turner

Natalie Hendry

Natalie Hendry

Glen Donnar

Glen Donnar

Alexandra Wake

Alexandra Wake

Xi Wen (Carys) Chan

Xi Wen (Carys) Chan

Matiu Bush

Matiu Bush

Michaela Jackson

Michaela Jackson

Tamara Borovica

Tamara Borovica

Adrian Farrugia

Adrian Farrugia

Billie Giles-Corti

Billie Giles-Corti

Kate Geck

Kate Geck

Ian Haig

Ian Haig

Brian Coffey

Brian Coffey

Nina Bowes

Nina Bowes

Kate Johnston-Ataata

Kate Johnston-Ataata

Stephen Alomes

Stephen Alomes

Penelope Weller

Penelope Weller

Ieva Stupans

Ieva Stupans

Ella Dilkes-Frayne

Ella Dilkes-Frayne

Sarah Foster

Sarah Foster

Nicola Henry

Nicola Henry

Flora Salim

Flora Salim

Elizabeth Kath

Elizabeth Kath

Stuart DM Thomas

Stuart DM Thomas

Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas

Michael Savic

Michael Savic

Rae West

Rae West

Shefton Parker

Shefton Parker

Deborah Lupton

Deborah Lupton

Karen Villanueva

Karen Villanueva

Leila Mahmoudi Farahani

Leila Mahmoudi Farahani

Linda Brennan

Linda Brennan

Shinyi Chin

Shinyi Chin

Adrian Carter

Adrian Carter

Peta Murray

Peta Murray

Kiran Pienaar

Kiran Pienaar

Melanie Davern

Melanie Davern

Hannah Badland

Hannah Badland

Rohit Ashok Khot

Rohit Ashok Khot

Chris Maylea

Chris Maylea

Leslie Yeo

Leslie Yeo

Magdalena Plebanski

Magdalena Plebanski

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi

Anna Hickey-Moody

Anna Hickey-Moody

Larissa Nicholls

Larissa Nicholls

Freya Thomas

Freya Thomas

Fabian Kong

Fabian Kong

Laurene Vaughan

Laurene Vaughan

Sarah Bekessy

Sarah Bekessy

Cecily Maller

Cecily Maller

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