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Holly Standen is an artist from Thanet currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her practice currently concerns examining and challenging socio-political dynamics through durational and endurance-based performances and installations. She uses the emotive qualities of performance to explore political issues with an unsuspecting audience. Her work often takes on an ‘Artless’ aesthetic, blurring the boundaries between art, life, and social commentary.

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The artwork I make immerses the audience within a conceptual bubble of current politics, allowing the viewer to consider the nature of current affairs and their personal views on the matter. Through my installations I aim to establish a psychological connection between the audience and my emotional responses to Global events.


The foundations of the work I make begins with a strong emotion or general mood that I want to convey using sound. When I work with sound at this stage it is primarily in the form of experimental compositions which I heavily edit and go on to display as part of my installations. The composition process is the most important in the development of the work, as it can very easily go wrong and evolve into something else. I write musical scores using my own process, manipulating and experimenting sonically to achieve the required mood. Following the composition process, I edit the recording to perfect the ambiance.


The installations are often built using cheap or found materials specific to the content of the project. The structures are usually fragile and unstable; this is often due to the choice of materials and the methods of putting them together. All my finished works have a very homemade style to them, where you can recognise the materials and see how the piece comes together. I chose my materials purposefully, and each material relates to the topic of the artwork.
The visual material in my installations acts as a prop for the sound. Without it, the sound would fall short of achieving its purpose. The visual material allows me to control the conditions in which the audience receive my sonic works and alters their perception of it. This is most prominent in my installations where I have the ability to create entire environments where I can completely immerse the audience. The sound is the tool that creates the emotive response to my work, and the visual elements of my work accentuate the experience.

When curated well, sound has an incredible presence within the gallery. It challenges the audience before you even begin to think about the work itself. Using sound as a mechanism to evoke emotion within the audience creates a particular atmosphere in my work. It goes beyond being an audio-visual installation and becomes something more of an experience. There will always be elements of my installations that a photograph or a video cannot capture, and these very things are the components of my work that capture the audience. 

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