CV

Beth Dawson aka Ducklingmonster is an audio-visual artist from Onehunga,  Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand | Aotearoa.

She investigates out of bounds areas through a range of practices with a focus on power disruption. Publicly her work has predominantly been in experimental sound performance, most notably in the group The Futurians, and solo as Ducklingmonster. Blatantly and happily ignoring the restrictions of media she works in sound, ink, video, broken electronics, and whatever else takes her fancy. She is a founding member of Tāmaki Makaurau based art collective Uniform.

Curriculum Vitae 

Beth Dawson | Ducklingmonster

Born 1978

Auckland | Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand | Aotearoa

Projects

Education

2004 Level 5 Diploma in Information and Library Studies, The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand

2001 Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Art History and Theory, University of Otago

Publication

  • Quilter, B . (2020) Happiness is Luxury. Auckland, New Zealand: Independent Woman Records
  • Cudby, C., Dawson, B., Neville, I., (2017) Sonic Comic. Auckland, New Zealand: Self-published
  • Harris, A (2017) The Roaring Silence, Auckland, New Zealand: Depot Press
  •  Joyce, R., Laing, S., Neville., I (2016). Three Words: An Anthology of Aotearoa/NZ Women’s Comics Auckland, New Zealand: Beatnik Publishing
  • LOUD #66 ‘Boundaries Without Barriers’ February to April 2016
  • Russell, B (ED.). (2012). Erewhon Calling: Experimental Sound in New Zealand. Auckland, New Zealand: Audio Foundation and CMR

Arts Management

  • 2003-2005 None Gallery studio co-ordinator
  • 2010 Wellington Zinefest Committee
  • 2008- 2010 Spacething Social Space/Gallery
  • 2010-2013 Audio Foundation Board of Governance
  • 2017-2018 RM gallery supervision
  • 2019-today Musical Electronics Library Board of Governance
  • 2014 – today Uniform

Associated Labels & Discography

Root Don Lonie For Cash, Altered State Tapes, Soft Abuse, Dubbed Tapes, Heavy Space Records, Feeding Tube Records

https://www.discogs.com/artist/522063-The-Futurians

https://www.discogs.com/artist/1245557-Beth-Dawson

and I recorded on a reverberating metal fire escape tonight (ink, watercolour Hair Skin Nails Page 9

Press

FELT TIPS AND FLOATING CATS:  Ducklingmonster live at the Audio Foundation

2pm, Saturday 12th July

Soundbleed Journal Review by Maryann Savage

On a grim winter Saturday afternoon, nine or ten audience members sat at the back of the gallery in the Audio Foundation to see Ducklingmonster’s solo set.  The room was dimmed with a thin blind over the windows because of the overhead projection on the side wall, so the atmosphere in the basement was cosy and cave-like.  We sat on cushions on the floor.

Ducklingmonster hunched over her table of keyboards and effects, her long hair falling forward, hiding her face.  She played the role at that moment of the stereotypical dark DJ:  the guy from Crystal Castles, stooped under his hoodie, the brooding mastermind.  But at other times, Ducklingmonster would step forward, look straight ahead, and dance and sing.  She was both the glamorous frontwoman and the sullen ‘genius’, everything at once.  

When she looked up to sing, Ducklingmonster’s long high pitched yells about neon and the radio were repeated through layers of echo.  She put her two keyboards and her drum machine through multiple effects, playing simple squeaky keyboard melodies over a bed of feedback.  The drone under Ducklingmonster’s music isn’t warm fuzz: it’s sharp and harsh.  She explained later that this bass drone sound, which she loves, comes from her broken casio keyboard’s ‘distorted gating’.

Towards the end of the performance, Tina Pihema (The Coolies) joined Ducklingmonster to play dirgy floor tom and snare.  Underneath Ducklingmonster’s gothic, minor 3-note keyboard melodies their performance together sounded like a funeral march, slow and relentless. 

And that’s appropriate, because Ducklingmonster isn’t trying to be nice.  The overhead projector showed a transparency of a collage Ducklingmonster had made.   In it, a 1950s comic-style image of a woman in a polka dot dress was juxtaposed with a magnification of DNA. Over the top of the woman, Ducklingmonster had drawn blocks of colour in harshly filled-out felt tip.  The combination of comics and felt tips exemplifies the aesthetic that informs Ducklingmonster’s work.  Her performance incorporates cheap drawing technologies, an old overhead projector, casio keyboards, raw 808 style beats, cheap mikes,  and 70’s airbrushed pictures of sultry women’s faces floating in the sky next to the faces of cats.  This is the aesthetic of the majority:  the aesthetic that says no to the cliches of performance art, that celebrates the ‘lowbrow’ forms of raw punk and hip hop, the aesthetic that’s consciously or unconsciously political in its effect.  Only the previous night, at the upmarket contemporary gallery Artspace, just along the road, a vapid performance had involved a pretty girl dancing naked, pleasingly, to New Age music, in front of a fashionably dressed crowd.  Ducklingmonster’s performance didn’t try to please the audience with soothing vapidity. There were no gallery concessions in the choice of felt tips over paint, or yells and screams over nudity.  Ducklingmonster invited us to participate in her underground power. 

Ducklingmonster @ Pyrimnd Club, Wellington, 2015. Karren Dale

Listen To Ducklingmonster’s Album ‘Parts Of The Flower’

Chris Cudby for Under The Radar

Friday 15th March, 2019

Auckland-based electronic innovator Ducklingmonster, co-founder of legendary Dunedin noiseniks The Futurians, has re-emerged from her sonic science lab with a seven track album of collaged live recordings titled Parts Of The Flower. Distorted mirrorball-decorated keys take a life of their own on the new collection, marching in robotic rhythm with mutagenic DIY electronic pulses, caveperson-in-the-future doofing tekno beats, and deeply echoed witch-in-the-club vox. One of the super city’s finest live performers, you can catch the multimedia artist doing her thing this Saturday 16th March at the Audio Foundation with Meung x Longmore and Vow Cave, and at Waiheke Island’s Malone’s Pub on Friday 22nd March with Kraus and DJ De Meath. Ducklingmonster explains Parts Of The Flower is “a tape collage of live recordings of performances and field recordings capturing breaking gear and various yelps. For all my green gals”. https://www.undertheradar.co.nz/news/15640/Listen-To-Ducklingmonsters-Album-Parts-Of-The-Flower.utr