Excited to be working with Valentina Ceschi and Kate Lane of Brave New Worlds again in collaboration with Seedbed 101 on a site-specific piece for Greenham Common on 26 July 2019. I will use bone conduction headphones in combination with recorded sound to present a soundwalk to be experienced as part of Brave New Worlds physical theatre performance at the site.
I have been experimenting with bone conduction headphones for some time, since working with poet Murray Lachlan Young on some site-specific pieces in 2017. I was unhappy that conventional headphones cut a listener off from their surroundings and the natural world and to me that seemed anathema to the concept of a soundwalk. Developed for the safety of cyclists and other sportspeople who need to be able to hear their surroundings, the bone conduction headphones deliver sound directly to the bones in front of the ears, bypassing the eardrums completely and leaving the ears free to pick up sound as they usually would. It’s an extraordinary experience being able to hear the surrounding sonic environment as well as the material in the headphones – a sort of layering effect that is really great to play with… this resonates with my work with transducers (which are actually on the cheekbones this time) and my blurring of acoustic boundaries.
I am collecting poetry and oral histories from women who were at Greenham Common in the 1980s and the project is a great opportunity to bring the voices of some of the women who carried out this extraordinary act of resistance back to the site.
There will be two performances, starting at the site of the Control Tower, Greenham Common at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on 26 July 2019.
The Courtauld Institute RES|FEST 2019 took place on the evening of 26 April. I was invited to talk with Prof Eric de Visscher, curator from V&A Research Institute (VARI), who commissioned my recent work, Resonant Bodies, for the South Asia Gallery of the V&A. In the talk, entitled Musical Instruments in Museums, can we hear these?, Eric and I discussed our successful recent collaboration and some of the possibilities and challenges that face curators and artists who collaborate on the sonification of museum objects.
The V&A produced a video about Resonant Bodies. that is available to watch here:
I have adapted my sound installation City of Things to 16 channels for the Sky Room of the new MK Gallery’s inaugural show, The Lie of the Land. City of Things is a sonic portrait of the city of Milton Keynes in its 50th anniversary year. I invited performance poet, Murray Lachlan Young to write poems in response to six sites I had chosen across the city and these are woven throughout my compositions together with the sounds of nature and the voices of residents in chant, song and interviews. The work is diffused across the windows of the Sky Room, bringing the outdoor sonic environment and the resonances of the city into the gallery space. Free to visit til 26 May 2019.
There are just two more days to catch my new sound installation, Resonant Bodies, which is installed in the South Asia Gallery of the V&A Museum, South Kensington for London Design Festival which runs from 15-23 Sept 2018.
Commissioned by Prof Eric de Visscher and V&A Research Institute (VARI), Resonant Bodies is a 4 channel work that brings the sounds of a number of 19th century Indian classical instruments to life on the glass of their display case. The work is diffused via resonators attached to the case that cause the surface of the glass to vibrate with recordings of the sounds of the instruments – effectively acting as a giant speaker and allowing the ordinarily silent instruments within the case to ‘speak’ to a visitor.
I used recordings of similar instruments as a starting point for the composition. One of those recordings is of the actual Bin Sitar in the case that was restored and played for the Darbar Musical Wonders of India project a few years ago and I must admit it is an extraordinary experience looking at the object within the case and hearing its sound emanate from the glass.
Resonant Bodies is free to visit, just drop in during V&A opening hours til 23 Sept.
City of Things – my new sound installation that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the ‘new town’ of Milton Keynes is now open in centre:mk. City of Things is a 60 channel work that uses my field recordings as the starting point for composition. It features local birds, bats, mosquitos, buddhists, football fans, choirs and the voice of performance poet Murray Lachlan Young. The sound is embedded into the building itself using a system of resonators on the huge glass windows of the Grade II listed shopping centre, speakers hidden in plants and trees and sound diffused over the tannoy system.
I am delighted to have a new work, Resonant Space, at Temple Contemporary in Philadelphia. Resonant Space considers signals that exist in the silence of outer space and includes VLF natural radio signals and solar resonances. This is the latest in a series of ‘silences’ commissioned by curator Robert Blackson that includes work by Cornelia Parker, Sophie Calle and Autumn Chacon. Thanks to Arts Council England Artists international Development Fund and The Andy Warhol Foundation for supporting this new work. Further information is available on Temple Contemporary website.
In May I visited the Stellar Astrophysics Centre in Aarhus with Prof Bill Chaplin from University of Birmingham to meet his asteroseismology colleagues in Denmark and learn about the new mission that will be sending back stellar resonance data in 2018. Following my very fulfilling Leverhulme Artist residency in the School of Physics and Astronomy at University of Birmingham where I worked with NASA Kepler data, I am looking forward to listening to data from another mission and making new work with it!
Caroline sings with Brian Molko on Placebo new Life’s What You Make It EP – a cover of Rowland S Howard’s Autoluminescent – and provides backing vocals on Placebo’s new single Jesus’ Son. Caroline previously sang under the name Severe Loren for Placebo back in 2000 appearing on Special K and Taste in Men on the Black Market Music LP.