I'm Laonikos, a shakuhachi player, creative artist and wilderness guide based in London. I work as Creative Project Leader at Sound and Music, and over the last ten years I have worked as an improvising musician, dancer, workshop leader, festival producer, community network developer, and wilderness guide. In my creative work, I explore how, through the arts and wilderness experiences, we can connect to ourselves, to each other, and to the world around us.
I'm a GLOMAS graduate, a certified wilderness guide, and co-artistic director of artArctica. We produced our second international and multiarts artArctica festival and residency (9-11 February 2017), and in 2016 we published poem.a, an anthology of Arctic poetry. In London I studied composition at Guildhall with Paul Newland.
Though I work primarily with sound, I also work creatively with movement and poetry. I am interested in improvisation as a way of connecting to the present moment, and I'm keenly passionate about collaborating with other artists. When I'm in a good mood I often whistle Boccherini. My current practice is on the shakuhachi, which I am studying with Clive Bell.
(I also design my own website.)
I believe in honesty. I believe in play, in sharing, in dance. I believe that music (arts?) is a verb, not a noun. That all art is a process which connects us to each other, and its value is not found on a price-tag of an artwork or a CD, but in the change it brings to the people involved.
As an artist and person I am inspired by improvisatory performance, Japanese philosophy, and the Finnish wilderness. What I find common in all of these is the importance of listening and being present. I believe listening is a radical act and the beginning of real conversation, which opens up the path to understanding, compassion, and peace.
Immersive Listening research project explores how being in the wilderness affects improvisation - my thesis, titled Rewilding music: Improvisation, wilderness, and the global musician (2016), explores the ways in which the wilderness is embodied in improvisatory practice, and how it can nurture cosmopolitan listening.
umami-music is an ongoing collaboration with Chris Bartholomew. In November 2015 we took over Helsinki Music House's Black Box hall, with a 5-hour improvisation exploring the hinterland between vastness and the momentary, slowness and the sudden, the wild and the tamed: a haiku-music. We released our first EP in Spring 2016 at a 3-hour gig in London. Here's some extracts:
In September 2019 I performed in the rainforest biome of Eden Project. Earlier that year I was in Berkeley Square improvising with nightingales in a communal performance organised by Sam Lee and Extinction Rebellion.
In August 2013 I wrote a talk on life, relationships, the self, nothingness, and meaning, titled Black Holes of the Mind for Three Discourses, a collaboration with Matthew Lee Knowles at the Barbican Centre during Hack The Barbican 2013.
For a complete list of compositions and performances, click here.