Andy Slater is a legally blind musician, sound artist, author, and performer. He is a 2018 3Arts/Bodies Of Work fellow at the University Of Illinois Chicago and Institutional Incubation Artist at High Concept Labs.
His sonic work has always been informed by blindness but it wasn’t until recently that he introduced the subject of disability into his work. In 2016, after an unsuccessful search for blind noisemakers, Andy founded the Society of Visually
Impaired Sound Artists (SoVISA), a group advocating for the inclusion of sound
art in art education for the blind with a greater presence in museums and institutions. SoVISA has developed training for accessible audio recording through the Sound As Sight project. The group offers grants for studio access, exhibition and performance opportunities, and a supportive network of fellow members.
As part of his residency at High Concept Labs, Andy has worked to develop the SoVISA manifesto. He began by introducing Sound As Sight, a field recording project where blind participants record the world around them and encourag the exploration of their unique relationships with sound. The first completed work was Andy’s “Inside Mana Contemporary” (2017). The piece was created from sounds recorded on the Mana campus using accessible audio technology. Sound As Sight received a grant from the Cliff Dwellers Club helping fund the project’s development in 2018.
Due to Andy’s visual impairment his ears function as navigation, safety, and problem solving tools. Because of this, he listens with great detail and focus, making it hard not to listen critically. Andy began composing experimental music as a teen
in the early 90s. He moved to Chicago in 1994 to attend classes at the School of
the Art Institute of Chicago Sound Department. After a decade away from school
he returned in 2010 to complete his education. He graduated from SAIC in 2013 with a BFA focusing on sound composition and sonic art.During his 2018 3Arts residency at UIC, Andy will work to realize some of SoVISA’s goals through Sound As Sight workshops and training, public listening projects, and leading discussions on museum accessibility. His latest work in progress, A Space For The Overactive Ear, is a multichannel sound installation composed of field recordings created with accessible IOS recording technology.
Andy has a large catalog of recorded music dating back 30 years that includes robotic synthesizer music, art-metal, acid-rock, musique-concrete, as well as film scores and sound design. He currently heads the experimental funk septet, the Velcro Lewis Group. Andy is an engineer at Chicago’s Frogg Mountain Recording studio and will barter his services for pizza and beer.
Here is a list of recent Exhibitions, Performances, and Panels
Crypto Acoustic Auditory Non-hallucination lecture – Chicago Disability Studies
Conference University of Illinois Chciago
Sounds As Sight: Paralytic Transit – Links Hall
Billy Croak – High Concept Labs
Inside Out – Intuit
Sound As Sight lecture – Radical Listening University of Illinois Chicago
Museum Accessibility panel – Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago
Sounds Great On Paper (curator) – Co-Prosperity Sphere
Starship Spiderbug – DFBRL8R
A Ghost & A Robot Are Friends – Hairpin Studios
Doing Drugs And Dying In Space – Runaways Theater Lab – Voice of the City
Stockpile: A Talking Book –The Elcetronic Arts Library at Art Space New Haven
Weirdo Sounds Kids Workshop – Comfort Station
Artists Of Access panel- School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Inside Mana Contemporary installation and soundwalk- Mana Contemporary
The Creeping Sand – Intuit
Hot Static Sound Library at Bloody Wednesday – The Hideout
Tales From The Crip reading series – Cafe Mustache