Cathy Vogan is an Irish-Franco-Australian singer, performer, composer, media artist, and writer, living between Sydney and Europe since the 1970s.
Born in Ireland into a musical family, and raised there until adolescence, Cathy Vogan — aka CaTV — was a professional singer in the theatre and cabaret from the age of three to 11 years, and won two major British talent awards before she was ten. She gave up the stage at the age of 14 and decided to become a gymnast.
After a four-year university education in English, Foreign Languages, Psychology, Mathematics and Philosophy, Vogan joined the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, under the tutelage of Zika Nester and Hayes Gordon. In 1982 she began another four years of study at Sydney College of the Arts, and in her third year, won her first of eight awards at the 1986 Australian Video Festival for her student film Dear Me.
Vogan represented Australia the following year in the same event at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, with her influential video installation Australia Is …. Receiving offers, she went to live in Paris for 16 years, where she co-founded, with French artist Dominik Barbier, an art-and-broadcast post-production house called Fearless Studios.
Having an in-house broadcast facility enabled Vogan to go on to create a vast oeuvre of award-winning films, installations, and live events for French and international audiences. Within the context of her years at Fearless, Vogan produced and collaborated with many other artists, writers, filmmakers, composers and choreographers, including Alain Renais, Pierre Schaeffer, Moebius, Julia Kristeva, Terry Gilliam, Robert Longo and Orlan.
In 1992, Vogan and Barbier began a three-year collaboration with the German playwright, Heiner Müller, for the making of the film I was Hamlet (1993); and subsequently, for a large-scale stage production of Müller’s play, Hamlet Machine, where Müller was to direct the actors. The 13-screen event, with four stages and a mostly live musical score, took seven years to create, and was performed — posthumously for Müller — in Amsterdam, Lyon and Marseille over 2002 and 2003.
Vogan began her academic career in 1989, tutoring at the University of Paris VIII, and was a lecturer at the European School of Visual Arts for five years prior to returning to Australia in 2003.
In Australia, she taught at the Australian Film Television and Radio School for four years, and lectured in digital media at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, for two years, while studying Maya 3D animation, Shake Compositing, and Logic Studio (audio engineering) to eastablish what she calls her “one-woman creative team”.
During this period she has also worked in broadcast media, acquiring the Apple Certified Trainer certification to affirm the highly technical and professional aspect of her practice. As a broadcast designer-author, Vogan was also involved in a number of memorable productions, such as the First Australians 7-box DVD edition for the SBS network.
In 2007, Vogan revived, produced and joined the legendary industrial music group SPK, along with original member, Tone Generator (aka Dominik Guerin). K.Osmosis, the writer and performance artist also joined them for the band’s first release in 25 years: Despair — a partly archival DVD with web links to the new SPK’s ever expanding work-in-flux.
In April 2009, Sue McCauley and Keith Deverell from Greyspace invited Vogan to create a live half-hour show for the Melbourne International Film Festival. This became the multi-media project Mimosis — a hybrid theatrical presentation of a story about “mirror neurons and ogres”, mixing 4-screen video projection with live action, and pre-recorded sound with live music and vocalisations.
In four months, Vogan composed a 23-minute version of the musical score, while filming and post-producing some 80 minutes of imagery for the synchronised 4-screen background projection. She also rehearsed for the portrayal of multiple characters, pre-recording and post-producing their voices — both male and female, young and old.
On July 2009, Vogan was joined onstage at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne, by the musicians George Washingmachine on violin, Jon Fox on percussion, and Alla Bekker on accordion. Onscreen actors included K.Osmosis, Void Riot, Hobart Hughes and Mark Rogers.
In January 2010, Vogan released her debut album, Mimosis Live, at the Melbourne International Film Festival, which will be available in a DVD verison entitled Mimosis: Dark Matters, half of which contains her collaborations with SPK’s K.Osmosis.