Dr Iris Garrelfs

Iris works on the cusp of music, art and sociology across improvised performance, installation and media projects.

Staff details

Dr Iris Garrelfs


Pathway Leader for MMus in Sonic Art and Co-Head of the Unit for Sound Practice Research (SPR)




i.garrelfs (@gold.ac.uk)



Iris Garrelfs works on the cusp of music, art and sociology across improvised performance, multi-channel installation and fixed media projects.

Iris was one of the first UK artists to combine voice with digital processing and still often uses voice as raw material, which she transmutes into machine noises, choral works or pulverised “into granules of electroacoustic babble and glitch, generating animated dialogues between innate human expressiveness and the overt artifice of digital processing” as the Wire Magazine put it.

She is interested in modes of listening as a way of connecting to the world. As a result she often works with site, not just as investigations of the geographical, historic or sociological aspects of each locality, but also as poetic evocations of presence on the one hand and presence within a space or situation on the other.

Her work has been included in major institutions worldwide, for example Tate Britain, National Gallery, Royal Academy Of Arts London, Visiones Sonores Mexico, Palazzo delle Esposizioni Rome, MC Gallery New York. Residencies have included Grizedale Art, Institute of Modern Art Celje (Slovenia), Onassis Cultural Centre Athens.

Public talks and seminars include The Bodleian Library’s Centre for Digital Scholarship, ICA London (UK), Oxford (UK), a performance lecture at Cycling74’s Max Connect session, Keynote at the Field Studies master class series, Metropolitan University (UK).

With a PhD from University of the Arts London, Iris’ research interest focuses on the process of creative practice. As a postdoctoral researcher at Chelsea College of Art, she applied her model of process in sound art practice - entitled Procedural Blending - to the development of a model for active metadata as part of the interdisciplinary, cross-university CREAM project.

As a commissioning editor of the open access journal Reflections on Process in Sound, she encourages artists to contribute their experiences to the discourse.



Selected Performances and exhibitions

2016: Brighton Digital Festival: Littoral Assembly, a collaborative 4-channel installation of ceramics and sound with Ingibjörg Gudmundsdottir. Commissioned by Ceramics House.

2016: Museion, Museum for Contemporary Art (Bolzano, Italy): Otzi, moving image & voice work based  on the story of the famous ice mummy. Commissioned by Museruole Festival.

2016: Lewisham Art House (London): performance of Lauschen, a site specific work for Lausch II, curated by Rahel Kraft and Adam Jaro

2016: Whitstable Biennale, ‘Silent’ program curated by Marcus Leadley: performing Improvisation for Microphone and Beach with Tansy Spinks (as Lab of Sonic Possibilities)

2015: VoxNovus Festival New York (NY): 60×60 acousmatic composition showcase

2015: National Gallery (UK): Room 61, site-specific performance for ‘Soundscapes Late’ using text and field recordings

2015: Tate Britain, London (UK): Listening Room, participatory 4-channel sound installation & radio work

2015: Borealis Festival Bergen (Norway): Radio piece Morse Code Choir broadcast in the Radio Space. Commissioned by Radio Art

2015: MC Gallery, New York (NY): diffusion of Sofa Surfing USA (Bedroom Symphonies)

2015: Google Cultural Institute collection, curated by Poulomi Usurp Desai: Unwitting Scores

2015: Beaney Museum of Art, Canterbury (UK), Eclipse, a performance for local newspapers and space sounds. Commissioned by Radio Art for Switched On

2014: IMT Gallery, London: performance of Unwitting Scores, a site specific work for graphic scores & voice. Commissioned by Maria Papadomanolaki for Forms of Ventriloquism.

2014: Hundred Years Gallery London (UK)performance for improvised digitally mediated voice 

2014: Wimbledon Space, London (UK): interactive installation for objects and space Lab of Sonic Possibilties. With Tansy Spinks, ACTS RE-ACTS Festival

2014: cueB Gallery, London (UK), site-specific performance Stone Table for stones and voice curated by Luca Nasciuti

2013: ARUP BeOpen Sound Portal, London (UK), 9-channel collaborative ambisonic installation Remembering Worlds. Using material from the Stanley Kubrick Archive. Commissioned by CRiSAP

2013: GV Art, London (UK), audio-visual installation Traces in/of/with Sound as part of Noise and Whispers

2013: Barbican Centre, London (UK), improvised voice/laptop at HackTheBarbican curated by Music Hackspace

2012: PianoForte Foundation, Chicago (IL), showcase of November Song

2012: Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (UK), digitally mediated voice performance as part of Electronic Voice Phenomena curated by Mercy

2012: City UniversityLondon (UK), 8-channel performance of Traces in/of/with Sound

2011: Café Oto, London (UK), digitally mediated voice performance at Simon Whetham’s Active Crossover

2010: Rencontres Internationales, Madrid (Spain), performing as part of Thomas Koner’s Futurist Manifest

2010: Ecoteca, Pescaoa (Italy), improvised digitally mediated voice performance

2009: Impakt Festival, Utrecht (Netherlands), performing as part of Thomas Koner’s Futurist Manifest

2009: Science Museum, London (UK), performance of mini space opera Star Maker at the 40th Moon landing anniversary celebrations. Commissioned by Sound and Music.

2009: Galapagos, New York (NY), showcasing of 60×60, with a choreographed dance performance by V. Brown

2009: Royal Academy Of Arts London (UK), Red Storage Room installation with Urbania Collective, GSK Contemporary Season

2008: Leeds Town Hall, Leeds (UK), installation Swannsong, commissioned by Lumen for Evolution Festival

2008: MCC, Celje (Slovenia), performance of moving image piece Twine using photographs & field recordings

2007: Sonic Circuits Festival, Washington (DC), improvised digitally mediated voice performance

2007: Museum for Contemporary Arts, Celje (Slovenia), solo show of audio-visual installation Dumplinks

2007: Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (Italy) performance with the Symbiosis Orchestra

2006: Gaudeamus Live Electronics Festival, Amsterdam (Netherlands), improvised voice/laptop performance at the Muziekgebouw aan’t Ij Amsterdam

2006: Visiones Sonoras, Morelia (Mexicovoice/laptop performance at Mexican Center for Music & Sonic Arts  

2006: South London Gallery, London, improvised live performance

2006: Whitechapel Gallery, London, improvised performance as part of Wormhole Salon



Solo albums. For compilations tracks, collaborative and individual recorded works see irisgarrelfs.com/category/recordings

2015: Breathing Through Wires, an album of technologically mediated live voice performances, PanyRosasDiscos (USA)

2014: Bedroom Symphonies, an album made from digitally mediated hotel room practice sessions accompanied by a booklet of photographs, released on Linear Obsessional Recordings

2006: Specified Encounters, an album made from digitally mediated voice recordings, released on Bip-Hop (France)


Conference & papers

2016: Sonologia, Sao Paulo (Brazil): Listening lives: how some sound artists understand inputs to their practice

2016: Sonic Environments/NIME, Brisbane (Australia): Traces in/of/with Sound: an artist’s experience of audio-visual space

2016: Off the Lip, Plymouth University. From Conceptual Blending to Procedural Blending: applying a model of cognition to process in sound art practice

2016: Interntional Digital Curation Conference Amsterdam (Netherlands): Bird C.I., Coles S.J., Garrelfs I. et al. Using metadata actively

2015: Sound Passages: Passage di Suono symposium, IUAV University of Venice, School of   Architecture, Venice (Italy): Sound and the Imagination in Urban Spaces

2014: Sound:Gender:Feminism:Activism symposium, London College of Communication: Beyond speech and song: exploring reactions to female vocal expressions in experimental sound                                    

2013: Seeing Sound, Bath Spa University: Garrelfs I. Traces in/of/with Sound: an experience of audio-visual space   

2013: Sounding Space, University of the Arts London: Garrelfs I, Desborough C R, Judkins R, McKerrow P. The Making of Remembering Worlds

2012: Sound:Gender:Feminism:Activism, London College to Communication symposium: Escaping gender through technology: sonic freedom and the machine

2012: Sound, Sight, Sound and Play, De Montfort University: Reflections on override: an experiment to interrupt sensorial interaction in audio-visual relationships

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