Sound commission for Tate Modern, 2014, binaural audio, 112mins

Sound commission for Tate Modern, 2014, binaural audio, 112mins


Sound commission for Tate Modern, 2014, binaural audio, 112mins.

Placing turbine noise back into the turbine hall: This piece uses the metaphor of tracing paper to understand how placing one ‘image’ over another creates a composite which exceeds and expands the experience of either image in isolation.

Understanding the sound recording as a sonic ‘image’ of a location in time and space, I wanted to understand how a visitor would experience the current state of the Bankside site whilst listening to a ‘trace’ of its former state. How could this literal and metaphorical ‘noise’ (of the simulacrum of the pre-existent) produce a new affective understanding of the contemporary gallery? Specifically, how would the heavy industrial sonic-architecture of a working power station inform and affect an experience at a location where art is shown at an industrial scale?

The brief for this commission was to create an audio work which could be listened to on headphones within the Tate Modern galleries and building. The requirement was an engaging intervention for visitors to the gallery. To create the piece I traveled to Fawley Power Station, near Southampton. The power station (which ceased operation shortly after my visit) was one of the last remaining oil fired power stations in the UK. This is the same type of station as the Bankside facility, before its re-incarnation as an art gallery.

I used binaural microphones to record many sounds at Fawley, including close proximity recordings of the turbines in operation. You can read more about the project here, and and listen to the recordings here.