Onomatopoeia is a digital zine featuring 30-second videos made by artists and sound designers

A project devised by Coda to Coda and Rosie Lee, the first issue features work made by Patrick Savile, Karen Gwyer, Chris Cray, Hinako Omori, plus Tilly Mint and Devon Loch.

23 July 2020
Reading Time
3 minutes


Onomatopoeia, as we know it by definition, is the process of forming a word from a sound that it describes. In this case specifically, however, it’s a collaboration between Coda to Coda and Rosie Lee for a selection of 30-second audio-visual creations, all collected together into an online zine called Onomatopoeia.club.

A place where visual artists can experiment, Onomatopoeia sees works published in a quarterly zine and features between 10-15 collaborators – with issue one premiering work from 24 artists in total, such as Chris Cray, who teamed up with Hinako Omori; Sophie Clements and Suitman Jungle; Patrick Savile and Karen Gwyer; plus Tilly Mint and Devon Loch. For the visuals, there’s a whole host of techniques including 2D animation, film, data-moshing, photography, motion graphics, collage, and stop motion – all of which are teamed with sound design, electronica, poetry, sampling, jazz, and Rwandan clapping rhythms, among many more.

Coda to Coda’s founders Will Worsley and Sam Britton come from an architecture, art, sound engineering and composition background, meaning that they’ve worked together on films and animations, as well as the decision to band together for their studio. “In 2013, we built our own studio,” Sam tells It’s Nice That, “not only for the work we do through Coda to Coda, but also as a way to accommodate all of these other projects, instruments, records and oversized monitor speakers we’ve picked up along the way.” Then Tanya joined the team as producer in 2014, after renting out one of their studios for her work as a composer, vocalist and producer. “We’ve all come through various DIY cultures, and that ethos puts a lot of value on experimentation and working as a group," says Tanya.

Onomatopoeia: Portal by Chris Cray x Hinako Omori

Rosie Lee is a creative agency founded in 2000, which now boasts offices in London, Amsterdam, Milan, New York and Rome – with the London creative director Mark Boyce heading the visual side of the Onomatopoeia project. “Although most of us at Rosie Lee are passionate about audio, and count music as one of the major creative influences in our personal lives, it is actually quite rare that we get to work with sound in our client projects. So we were delighted when an opportunity arose to work with Coda to Coda on this project,” says Mark.

Off the back of an AV project with Coda to Coda and really enjoying working together, the two studios joined forces. “The idea grew off the back of a pet project we made with the animator Battlecat (Data Mosh in Issue 1), when we asked him to make a loop-able 30-second video for us to soundtrack,” says Will. After witnessing the enjoyable outcome of this short format, one clip soon became eight, before they continued the discussions and realised how few spaces there are for visual and sound artists to connect. Which got them thinking: “Maybe we can make and curate a space for sound and visual artists to experiment and connect like we did?” And that’s when the digital zine format was born.

An interesting aspect in the develop of the project is that the artists didn’t meet until the piece was finished. “We were really curious to see what would happen,” says Tanya. “Luckily all the artists were really up for it and the element of surprise, or unexpected outcomes.” This is something Marks points to as well. “There’s a beautiful unexpectedness in the collaborative process, one that’s out of our hands once the files leave our desktops,” he says. “We also like the idea of the marriage of two artists, who may not have ever worked together, but possibly will again after their Onomatopoeia collaboration.”

A community where artist and sound designers can unite and collaborate, Onomatopoeia is full of pleasant surprises. Not only was it originally going to be called “Ear Adventures” – devised from the idea of “taking your ear for a walk” – but they have plenty of room to experiment through each contribution as well as the identity itself. “We needed something that represented several dimensions, and hanging out with Coda and seeing them actually speak in onomatopoeias when describing sounds or emotions, Onomatopoeia made perfect sense,” says Mark. “The word also gave us lots to play with graphically and there are lots of experiments and animated versions of the identity that will release further down the line.”

I cannot fly but I will not hit the floor by Sophie Clements x Suitman Jungle

My thoughts are in perfect array by Tilly Mint x Devon Loch

Cumi na gatandatu by Emily V Evans x Auclair

Less More Me by Studio Kissù x Evadney

Whimper & Whine // Please Can I Have It by Rachel Sale x Leslie Gaston-Bird

Sphynx by Rosie Carr x Cosmo Sheldrake

We Had a Smashing Time by Tom le French x Pink Shabab

Betty's Boy Box by Jeremy Hutchison x Heloise Tunstall-Behrens

This Place by Catherine Repko & Luisa Gerstein

Data Mosh by Battlecat x Coda to Coda 

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Onomatopoeia: Drachmann by Patrick Savile x Karen Gwyer

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and continued to work with us on a freelance basis. From November 2019 she joined the team again, working with us as a Staff Writer on Mondays and Tuesdays until August 2020.

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