Lesley Flanigan is an experimental electronic musician living in New York City. Inspired by the tangible elements of electronic sound, she builds her own instruments using minimal electronics, microphones and speakers. Performing these instruments alongside traditional instrumentation that often includes her own voice, she creates a kind of physical electronic music that embraces both the transparency and residue of process — sculpting sound from a pallet of noise and subtle imperfections.
ArtsCriticATL writes, "Flanigan's performance comes loaded with philosophical ideas, often blurring the boundaries among music, noise, sculpture and performance art." Drawing from her background in sculpture and music, she built her first speaker feedback instrument, Speaker Synth, in 2007. She continues to build similar systems crafted from raw speaker cones, contact microphones and wood. Playable by hand, her instruments afford a delicate tangibility to electronic sound, and like sculptor working with clay she layers tones of speaker feedback and her own voice with the remnants of amplification, shaping sound as a fragile mass.
Her feedback compositions are the subject of her 2009 album, Amplifications, using only the sounds of her voice and speaker instruments. Called a “snow storm of a record” by New Music Box, Flanigan reveals influences ranging from post-rock and jazz to ambient and noise genres, as her music combines a classical approach to composition with an appreciation for the art of melody and song. Music from the album formed the basis for a series of performances around the USA and Europe including The Stone (New York), Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (San Francisco), Galapagos Art Space (Brooklyn), Crane Arts (Philadelphia), Monster Truck Gallery (Dublin), .HBC (Berlin), Rhiz (Vienna) and the Sonar Electronic Music Festival (Barcelona). In 2011, she began to introduce a new body of work pairing her feedback instruments with other forms of traditional instrumentation. This work includes Expand/Release with the TRANSIT ensemble, Elephant with guitarist James Moore (of Dither), Pare with double bassist Eleonore Oppenheim (of Victoire), and I Need for intimate choral group and multiple amplifiers.
In addition to her solo work, Lesley Flanigan performs as a member of Bioluminescence, a collaboration with video artist and composer R. Luke DuBois. Exploring the modality of human voice, DuBois records and rearranges Flanigan's voice and image in real time to shape an immersive environment of video and sound. She has wielded a soldering iron as a guest performer in the circuit constructing noise group, the Loud Objects, and collaborated with Stefanie Wuschitz of Mz. Baltazar’s Laboratory to teach interactive art workshops for women artists. She has been an artist in residence at LEMUR (Brooklyn) and WORM (Rotterdam).
Her performances have been presented in numerous venues, festivals, and art spaces internationally including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Issue Project Room (Brooklyn), Roulette (New York), Diapason (Brooklyn), River to River Festival (‘11 New York), Sonar ('10 Barcelona; '10 Chicago), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde (Denmark), STEIM (Amsterdam), Transitio_MX ('09 Mexico City), NIME ('08 Genoa; '09 Pittsburgh), ICMC ('07 Copenhagen), and Bent ('08 Los Angeles; '09 New York). Her art has been exhibited at the ISEA conference in Singapore, Busan International Design Festival in South Korea, Ringling College's Selby Gallery, MCLA's Gallery 51, and The Maloney Art Gallery at CSE. She has spoken about her work and given workshops at universities, art foundations, and hacker spaces internationally including Harvestworks (New York), Dorkbot NYC, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Metalab (Vienna), Digital Art Studios (Belfast), Wellesley College, the Copenhagen School of Architecture, and Noisebridge (San Francisco).
Lesley Flanigan studied sculpture at the Ringling College of Art and Design, and received a masters in art technology from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University.