Poetics of (Outer) Space at Perrott’s Folly

Poetics of (Outer) Space is to be sited in the extraordinary Perrott’s Folly in Birmingham – presented as part of the University of Birmingham’s Art & Science Festival in connection with IKON Gallery’s offsite programme. Open daily from midday to 5pm, 18-22 Mar 2015, the sound installation will transform the 18th century tower with a multi-channel composition developed from data collected by the NASA Kepler mission over the past four years.

Poetics of (Outer) Space explores the natural acoustic resonances of stars and the orbits of newly discovered exoplanets. A ‘vertical’ composition rises up through the tower and stars are positioned according to their age, frequency range and the number of exoplanets they host – frequencies from the youngest star can be heard on the first floor of the piece with the top floor hosting a composition derived from data on Kepler-444 – the recently discovered (but ancient) star system that hosts five rocky exoplanets. The work was developed during my artist residency in the School of Physics and Astronomy at University of Birmingham throughout 2014.

Poetics of (Outer) Space is supported by Arts Council England, Ikon Gallery, University of Birmingham and the Leverhulme Trust. Entrance is free. The tower can only be accessed via a steep staircase and only 8 people are allowed in the Folly at a time so there may be a short wait if the site is busy.

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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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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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Review of Captain Ko at Pulse Festival

“A masked woman silently prepares to make a cup of tea. Performed in mime against an effective and highly realistic soundscape, it’s beautifully observed. Each movement accurate to the smallest detail. As the woman’s memory fails, however ,the simple action of making tea becomes impossible and the end result is deeply moving.”

Read full review of Captain Ko here on Glen’s Theatre Blog

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Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice

Work begins on Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice – great to be working with Dancing Brick again and looking forward to new collaboration with video artist, Susanne Dietz. I am also very pleased to have made contact with Matthias Bopp, a ham radio and astronomy hobbyist in Germany, who is kindly providing us with “sounds from space” that were recorded from his Shack. Matthias’ website includes a collection of his own and others’ recordings as well as a wealth of information.