Sunday, May 23, 2010

River Sounding

I bought a new camcorder this week and we took it with us yesterday on a trip to Somerset House for a look round the Bill Fontana installation, River Sounding.  Installed under the main courtyard in parts of the building usually closed to the public, the art work consists of audio and video recorded at various sites above and below the surface of the Thames.  You can see the footage I took below (it features my son Torin near the start - he soon went back up to the sunlight finding it "too spooky").  I hope this conveys some of the atmosphere of these subterranean spaces - the light wells, dark entrances and hidden Dead House, where 17th century graves can be found that predate the current building.  It would be quite hard not to make an impressive installation in a setting like this, but the way Fontana connects these silent old basements to the sounds of the river that flows outside is very effective.

I'm also embedding below a much more professional film about River Sounding that includes an interview with the artist.  It has footage of some of the sites and soundscapes Fontana used - Tower Bridge, Richmond Lock, Southend Pier and the mournful Whistle Buoy, which you can see floating up and down on a wall at the end of my video.

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