Gwen Siôn is an experimental composer, producer and multidisciplinary artist working with sound, sculpture, DIY electronics, moving image and installation. She creates multi-instrumental, vocal and electronic compositions, and designs and creates her own hand-built instruments and electronic sound devices using recycled materials.
Gwen is interested in the relationship between sound and environment and the architectural qualities of sound. Her practice is underpinned by landscape, technology, mythology, ritual and synaesthetic crossover, particularly the dynamic between colour and musical notation. When creating sound works, she combines elements of ambient, electroacoustic, minimalism, electronica and musique concrète, using non-traditional composition methods, often inspired by reading the landscape as a score, field recordings and hydro-recordings, and collecting found objects and natural materials to create both acoustic and electronic instruments. Engaging in acts of translation and transformation, Gwen uses sound to describe the visual, physical and emotional experience, interpret the landscape in musical terms, and explore how musical composition can be used as a means of mapping space and the cultural, ecological and socio-political significance of that space.
Gwen has developed public sound installations, performed and exhibited sound works across the UK and internationally, and worked on a broad range of projects, residencies and commissions. In 2021, Gwen developed the Shadowboard for an interactive sound installation- an original 12-oscillator polyphonic touchless synthesiser on which notes are played with shadows, and worked with Wales Millennium Centre and Tŷ Cerdd as a selected composer on the CoDI DIY project, composing new string works for the Mavron Quartet, and worked on the StokkøyArt collaborative residency project developing a public art installation on Stokkøya island, Norway. Gwen was also commissioned by Sound and Music and British Music Collection to compose new work as part of Climate/Sound/Change. As a result, she created a multi-disciplinary art and research project in response to the climate emergency and HS2. The project went on to win the 2021 LMVH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) X Central Saint Martins ‘Maison/0 This Earth Award’ (a prize which champions sustainable art practice and works that advocate for nature), was nominated and subsequently shortlisted for the 2021 MullenLowe NOVA Awards and was also shortlisted for the 2021 Sustainability First Art Prize.
Recently, Gwen was commissioned by the charity Liquid Vibrations to compose a new 15-minute music work for underwater sound installation as part of Liquid Listening, an Arts Council-funded project supporting children with special educational needs and disabilities through a nationwide musical hydrotherapy tour. In Autumn 2022 she also exhibited a sound and video installation in an international group exhibition at Atelier 11, Paris, as part of the 2022 European Heritage Days festival on the theme of Sustainable Heritage. She is currently working as a selected composer on the Sound and Music New Voices programme and was awarded Arts Council England DYCP funding in 2022 to develop an experimental new music project and a new series of electronic instruments.
Gwen has recently begun producing a new body of multi-genre electronic music under the alias catHead. The new project’s debut release is set to launch in Spring 2023 followed by a series of live audio-visual performances using her newly developed sound devices.