Sonic London

Had a great day exploring with @kocicenka and our friend Anna from Spain the other day. We went to see @martynware ‘s new thing on the Millennium bridge called Tales from the Bridge. It’s an immersive sound installation that spans the entire bridge and involves 3d positional audio. Martyn has developed his own positional system over a number of years at Illustrious. He gave me a great demo of their system once but this was the first time I had heard one of his pieces at location.

This video really doesn’t do it justice AT ALL so you need to go experience it while its there!

The piece is very contemplative and serene, but also educational in an interesting way. It really made me listen more to the other sounds of the bridge – the water being displaced by the boats passing below, the seagulls, the wind, the people.. It was actually brilliantly mixed to blend all of this into the soundscape and become part of the art. It really transformed my perception of London at that moment.

It makes me want to have more location specific sound in our built environment – something I was always interested in during my days in the world of Architecture. Making music specific to a place / situation is just fascinating. We do a lot of this at RjDj too.

On the other side of the bridge – the sonic transformation of the city continued. This guy was properly freaking out on his synths. It was great it made the South Bank feel very futuristic and slightly on edge. Very fluid.

We then wandered into the Tate Modern and encountered this :

It was pretty wild. I initially assumed that it was a participation piece involving members of the public and was amazed how the artist had them so involved. It turns out they are paid to be part of the artwork and given very specific instructions, including talking directly to the observers and breaking down in tears. More here :

To be honest I wanted it to be entirely made of the public. That would have been awesome. I considered intervening / disrupting it and becoming part of the artwork myself but chickened out..

In the new TANKS area at the Tate there was a que for a piece by Tania Bruguera. I joined it.

It seemed to be going slowly, in fact it was not moving at all. But something else was at play here. I saw someone in black taking seemingly random people into the room from the que. A ‘Selector’ came up and told me that I could go in if I did something for her in return. I said I didn’t have an idea of what to offer her, but that I thought that this que itself was the piece of art and that I would actually never get in unless I participated in some way. I asked her if that was true and she said no. But then she let me in anyway. I said that its a shame because that would have been awesome. The piece of art in the room had very little impact on me, but the que had a lot. I think it would have been better if when selected they just took you to a side exit and left you outside in the world.


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