Blog

In conversation: art and science

I am looking forward to speaking about my collaboration with Professor Bill Chaplin and the HiROS team at the workshop In Conversation: art and science that takes place in London tomorrow.

Organised by AHRC in partnership with Arts @ CERN, the aim of the workshop is ‘to consider the extent to which bringing artists and scientists together leads to the opening up of creative spaces for each, and how this kind of environment challenges and transforms ways of thinking and working in both scientific and artistic practice.’

Collaborators speaking include CERN physicist, Dr Bilge Demirkoz and artist Goshka Macuga, composer Chris Chafe and Professor of Neurology, Josef Parvizzi, Professor of Comparative Cognition Nicola Clayton and Mark Baldwin of Rambert.

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MK International Festival talk

This Weds, 23rd July, I will be joining Ray Lee, Kaffe Matthews, Prof Allan Cochrane and Dr George Revill of the Open University at MK Gallery for a panel discussion entitled One Person’s Noise is Another Person’s Music – the panel will discuss the ways artists can embed their work into a place, challenge perceptions of sound and encourage us to listen and hear differently. The talk is part of the Milton Keynes International Festival IF:Sonic Day and is free to attend.

LSE Literary Festival

I will be talking about my practice at the LSE Space For Thought Literary Festival next Saturday, 1st March at the London School of Economics. I’m looking forward to joining Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at Salford University and composer/sound artist, Aleksander Kolkowski for a panel discussion chaired by Professor David Hendy entitled Sonic Landscapes: understanding the world through sounds.
The event is free and open to all. E-tickets are required and can be booked via LSE E-shop.

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Leverhulme Artist in Residence

Next week, I will be starting a ten month residency with the Solar and Stellar Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham in February, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate further with the BiSON research team headed by Professor Yvonne Elsworth and Professor Bill Chaplin, whose data I used as raw material for my 2012 sound installation, 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun.

I will be learning more about helioseismology and asteroseismology – the study of the sun and other stars by observation of their natural acoustic resonances. The residency will allow me to realise a new body of work using real Kepler data gathered over the past three years and develop my compositional practice in this area to the natural resonances of other solar type stars, including those that host newly discovered planets.

An exhibit combining extracts from 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun with information about BiSON research is currently installed at the entrance to the Planetarium of Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham.

On Air

A lovely sunny day for On Air, my large scale sound installation throughout The Open University campus in Milton Keynes. On Air is a 60 channel work that floats in the air around the campus. More than 100 speakers diffuse an acoustic layer made from the voices of OU researchers, archive material, echolocations of local bats, musical elements, electromagnetic signals and field recordings gathered from around the site. The recordings are re-introduced back into the environment from which they came, as though the ideas, lines of enquiry and histories of The Open University exist permanently on the air currents throughout the campus and are made temporarily audible by the work.

On Air is one of four artworks commissioned across the regions for the University of the Air project, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Harold Wilson speech and OU research. On Air is the commission for England and focuses on design and technology research.

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Shortlisted for BASCA British Composer Awards 2013

I am delighted to have been shortlisted for the British Composer Awards with my sound installation, 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun. I am one of three composers shortlisted in the Sonic Art category. The British Composer Awards ceremony will take place on 3rd December. More information is available here.

5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun is an outdoor multi-channel sound installation exploring naturally occurring radio signals and the acoustic and electromagnetic energy of the sun. The work combines data on the sun’s natural resonances from the BiSON research team at the University of Birmingham with VLF natural radio signals.

The work was sited within a parabolic dome in Milton Keynes Theatre District for six weeks from 21st June 2012. The acoustic attributes of the space allowed the dome to be used as a form of “meta-instrument” – the dome acted as a giant sounding box and further focused and amplified a multi-channel composition that was diffused through a network of speakers towards its roof.

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Space Ham review, Radio Times

Review of Space Ham by David Crawford in the Radio Times:

The image of amateur radio enthusiasts is indelibly linked in my mind to that of Tony Hancock. But it seems they’re a much more inspiring bunch than that, as this fascinating feature shows.

Since the beginning of the space age, “hams” have been intercepting transmissions from space and, in the case of astronaut Owen K Garriott, taking amateur radio broadcasts onto space stations.

“Found space-sound” artist Caroline Devine weaves these transmissions into her own composition, combining them with ethereal sounds of space to hypnotic effect. It’s a space oddity, but entrancing and magical.

ABOUT THIS PROGRAMME
Sound artist Caroline Devine celebrates amateur radio and space exploration with a composition featuring the ethereal sounds of the cosmos and the ham enthusiasts who recorded them. Owen K Garriott reveals why he was the first astronaut to take amateur radio into space, and there’s newly released archive of US radio operator Roy Welch, who immediately after Sputnik’s launch, rigged up a makeshift station, looking up to the night sky as the satellite’s eerie beat found voice in his ramshackle equipment.

SPACE HAM PICK OF THE WEEK BBC Radio 4

SPACE HAM featured on Radio 4’s Pick of the Week on Sunday.
Space Ham is available to listen again on the BBC iplayer until the new episode of Between the Ears airs this Saturday.
Review by David Crawford in the Radio Times

The image of amateur radio enthusiasts is indelibly linked in my mind to that of Tony Hancock. But it seems they’re a much more inspiring bunch than that, as this fascinating feature shows.

Since the beginning of the space age, “hams” have been intercepting transmissions from space and, in the case of astronaut Owen K Garriott, taking amateur radio broadcasts onto space stations.

“Found space-sound” artist Caroline Devine weaves these transmissions into her own composition, combining them with ethereal sounds of space to hypnotic effect. It’s a space oddity, but entrancing and magical.

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SPACE HAM on BBC Radio 3

SPACE HAM, an episode of Between the Ears celebrating the relationship between amateur radio and space exploration will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 9.30pm this evening. SPACE HAM is a collaboration between myself and Producer, Rose de Larrabeiti of Whistledown Productions. SPACE HAM includes the recordings of many amateurs, including VLF recordings from Paul Nicholson and Wolf Buescher and Ham recordings of ISS contacts from Matthias DD1US Sounds of Space collection. Thanks to all those who provided material and to Roy W0SL for his wonderful recording of the first Sputnik signals from 1957. I synthesised many of the other sounds from scratch using sine waves to explore heterodyning, the Doppler effect and other acoustic phenomena.

From the BBC website:

Since the dawn of the Space Age, amateur “ham” radio has eavesdropped on our exploration of the cosmos. From Sputnik to the International Space Station, radio enthusiasts with homemade kit have been able tune into the distant sounds of space and talk to those exploring it. Caroline Devine, found space-sound artist, creates a composition from the ethereal sounds of space and the space hams and sends Between the Ears into orbit.

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Recording of 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun

5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun was installed to coincide with the 2012 summer solstice and played in a dome in Milton Keynes Theatre District for six weeks over the summer. This excerpt drifts between a live recording in the Dome and the original composition. The project was made possible with funding from Arts Council England and support from MK Gallery.

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Original data are courtesy of the Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network (BiSON) research team, School of Physics and Astronomy, Birmingham University. VLF recording courtesy of Paul Nicholson and Wolf Buescher.