Chimera: Levitating Tongues

Thursday 20 October 2022

Vocal performance and one-off screening with composers Ceylan Hay and Shiori Usui

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Thursday 20 October 2022, 18:00 - 19:30
Crawford Building

University of Dundee
Perth Road

Crawford Building
Booking required?

Channelling a fantastical spirit, Levitating Tongues is a vocal-based performance by playful composers Ceylan Hay and Shiori Usui.

The performance will be set within Nashashibi/Skaer's exhibition Chimera and will be contextualised by a unique screening of the artists' film Bear, featuring a special soundtrack developed in collaboration with Cantonese opera artist Zhuo Peili. Levitating Tongues will unleash your inner mythological beast.

This screening and performance is part of the series of events accompanying the exhibition Chimera by Nashashibi/Skaer.


Book free tickets via Eventbrite.

Composers' biographies

Ceylan Hay
The music of Ceylan Hay (aka Bell Lungs) can be described as alchemical, often starting a journey in one direction before transmogrifying into something else entirely by some unseen sleight of hand. Like turning the dial on a radio, there’s no knowing what sounds might be thrown up from the cacophonous jukebox of her mind which is just as likely to drop in a Ronan Keating cover as pay homage to Meredith Monk while delivering sets dripping with punch in the gut emotion. A prolific collector of instruments, she mostly plays violin, guitar, keys and tuned percussion, while trying to bend her voice in as many different directions as possible. She has appeared at events as various as Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2019, Supernormal 2019, Edinburgh Art Festival 2019, SONICA 2019 and Fort Process 2018, and was recently the Musician in Residence for Stranraer's Unexpected Garden, where she wrote songs about globe artichokes and borage. A vocal member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra since 2017, Ceylan also composes for theatre, dance and silent film livescores and was recently commissioned by the British Film Institute to co-compose a new score for Maya Deren's Meshes of the Afternoon (with harpist Aurora Engine). When not making music, Ceylan can be found making beeswax candles and singing sea shanties while coastal rowing.

Shiori Usui
Originally from Japan, Shiori Usui is a BBC Proms commissioned composer and improviser based in Scotland. The Times newspaper described her as a composer with “entirely individual ears” after the successful premiere of the piece “Liya-pyuwa” for piano quintet at Wigmore Hall, London in 2006.

Shiori has produced works in radical instrumental music, and has worked with motion capturing sensors and biophysical technology. Many of her compositions are inspired by the sounds of the human body, the deep sea, and many other weird and wonderful organisms living on Earth. Shiori is currently conducting the second research and development of a project in hydro-pool with/for disabled young people, using sound and music in water as the core materials of the sensory theatre show.

Shiori has been a recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including Toru Takemitsu Composition Award 2012, Civitella Ranieri Music Fellowship in conjunction with the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary (2010), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Cove Park composer’s residency (2012), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Sound and Music composer-in-residence (2013-2014), Scottish Chamber Orchestra Connect Fellow funded by BBC Performing Arts Fund (2013-2014) for working with children with additional support needs, Ricordi Lab publishing deal from Ricordi Berlin (2016), Scottish Awards for New Music for large ensemble (2018) and Awards for Artists by Paul Hamlyn Foundation (2019).

As a composer, Shiori has worked with numerous international ensembles and orchestras including BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov, Collegium Novum Zurich conducted by Peter Rundel, Philharmonisches Orchester Cottbus conducted by Alexander Merzyn, and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group conducted by Martyn Brabbins. As an improvising musician, Shiori has performed with artists and groups such as Arve Henriksen, Ilan Volkov, Rie Nakajima, Lee Patterson, Cato, Grey Area, BCMG and Collegium Novum Zurich.


The gallery is on two floors. First floor has ramped access and disabled toilet.

Second floor is accessible via lift and for wheelchair access via a stairclimber over 5 steps. The performance will take place on the second floor. 

Please email in advance if you require lift or stairclimber access so we can arrange support.

Large print versions of the exhibition information handout are available, please ask our Guides.

All enquiries please contact: exhibitions@dundee.ac.uk



Read a response to the event by writer Cheryl McGregor on Cooper Gallery Notes.

Image credits

Header: Nashashibi/Skaer, Bear, 2021 (film still)
Gallery: Levitating Tongues, performance. Photography by Sarah Smart.
Video: Levitating Tongues, performance. Video by Sarah Smart.

Funding support

Chimera is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and British Council.


Cooper Gallery

Event type Gallery event
Event category Art and Design