This week a few friends and I attended an excellent ‘artist talk’ at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop which just happens to be in our local area. You can see some of the photos I took at the event above.
The talk was by self-confessed ‘sound nerds’ (meant in the nicest possible way) Tommy Perman, Professor Simon Kirby and Rob St John, who were discussing their Concrete Antenna project, which is a site-specific sound work in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop’s unusually shaped Tower.
The talk was excellent, with the three of them going into fascinating detail about how they conceptualised the project and worked with sounds and space to create a unique and ever-changing experience.
What can be heard there at any given moment is influenced by human presence near and inside the tower, the tides going in and out at the nearby harbour, and the weather. There are snippets of conversation that phase in and out like a longwave radio searching for a signal.
That’s not to mention the original, extremely evocative compositions that were created out of foghorns, burning tape reels, demolition warning signals and church bells – listen to a sample below.
And thanks to the open architecture of the tower, this is all intermingled with the natural sounds happening all around. It is amazing really how good the acoustics are on site, given that they had to create the sounds without access to the tower until the very last day of the project!
Happily, there is to be a vinyl record featuring some of the compositions so you can recreate the experience in your own home/back garden/walking around (ok you might need the digital download for the latter).
This is the first time all three have worked together as a trio but this definitely felt like a continuation of some of the other collaborations they have all been involved with. You might remember I interviewed Tommy and Rob about their previous Edinburgh-based project, Water of Life. I also did a video interview with Tommy and Simon about their robot band project with Aidan Moffat, Unravel.
The Concrete Antenna installation will be at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop until Autumn 2015.