THIS IS A VOICE: Wellcome Collection's major spring exhibition

Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition, ‘THIS IS A VOICE’, looks inside vocal tracts, restless minds and speech devices to capture the elusive nature of the human voice, from its origins within the body, to the sounds ringing in our heads.

This is a Voice exhibition illustration

The voice is shapeless and immaterial, and yet fills up an entire gallery in Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition. Celebrating the aural and the oral, this exhibition is designed as an acoustic journey of sound and film by contemporary artists and composers, punctuated by paintings, manuscripts, medical illustrations and ethnographic objects.

It explores the meaning and emotions conveyed through patterns of rhythm and intonation, emphasising non-verbal forms of communication. It also looks at the ways in which our voices identifies and locates us socially, geographically and psychologically, yet can be altered with treatment and training.

Artists and vocalists include:

  • Joan La Barbara
  • Imogen Stidworthy
  • Sam Belinfante
  • Enrico David
  • Meredith Monk
  • Marcus Coates
  • Mikhail Karikis
  • Anna Barham
  • Emma Smith.

Visitors can add their own voices to the mix of sound in the gallery as part of a new work by electronic musician Mathew Herbert (Plat du Jour, The End Of Silence). Commissioned in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, Herbert’s Chorus asks visitors to sing a single note to add to a chorus of voices, forming an ever-expanding sound installation that plays in the exhibition and online.

Curator Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz describes the exhibition as ‘highly performative’ and a ‘quest to give form to the ambiguous nature’ of the voice. You can find out more from Bárbara's curator's introduction.

THIS IS A VOICE runs from 14 April to 31 July 2016 at Wellcome Collection, and features daily ‘voicings’, live performances and demonstrations in the gallery. It will be touring to the Powerhouse, Sydney, in 2017.