SoundHide opened to the public today after a private view last night. People seem to really get the idea of sitting and relaxing, listening to the sounds of nature at the site. I am so pleased. I heard whispers as people left the structure with words like ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’. Truthfully it brought tears to my eyes I was so happy that it was working out the way I had hoped. You never know with installations….
You can go to see SoundHide 10-4 every Fri/Sat/ Sun until 6 Sept (also Bank Holiday Monday) at the River Waveney Centre just east of Bungay, Suffolk, England.
So the speakers are in, the electronics and the spot sound board is in, the bales have been arranged to make nice seating areas. There is even a ring round the back for a picnic, a sheltered area outside under a porch roof and places outside the door to sit, chill, take in the view and relax. Private view is Thursday 13th August and then the public start coming on Friday. So pleased with the way it looks and sounds.
SoundHide is part of the Waveney and Blyth Arts Sculpture trail at the River Waveney Study Centre. It is open Fri Sat Sun and Bank Holiday Monday from 14 Aug to 6 Sept. Adults £4. Under 18s free. Some lovely pieces set in this most amazing place.
I wanted the spot sound board to be educational and, hopefully, fun so I used a pyro pen to burn images of the various fauna onto plywood and then fixed those onto plywood backing. I most of the images myself, my daughter did two, and it was really fun. I was given a bird book my my dad when I was 10 and I still have it. I used to enjoy copying the images out then and so I decided to do this again. It was very therapeutic. I hope you like them. Also I wanted the electronics to be visible to those that were curious as to how SoundHide worked so these were mounted behind a perspex sheet.
Composing the sound loop for the hide involved trawling though hours of recordings made on 10 recording trips to the River Waveney Centre from March to July. I looked at several ways of grouping these sounds and ended up concluding that the journey I made recording the sounds and getting to know the site was the only way to make sense of the sounds. They needed to be grouped in terms of the time of year, time of day and the prevailing weather. I made 10 sections and then put these into 3 movements for the installation.
I edited them with the wonderful Amadeus software and then mixed them using Digital Performer. I made each section in two stereo mixes, front and back, as I couldn’t be sure of synchronising the stereo sound players (needed to run from battery). Digital performer has the wonderful ability of having as many sequences you like in one project and this made it easy to build the piece in 10 movements and then assemble it. Finally I put it all together in three movements with my voice announcing these so that the audience in the installation could get an idea of where they were in the loop.
Having got the roof on I decided that we had to change the plan. We were going to put straw bales on the roof too. However the roof looked stupid with the bales on and covering with tarps spoilt the look. Inside the plywood roof was giving a horrible echo which I could have predicted if I had thought about it. So we decided the straw would go inside the roof, held in place by material which would deaden the space and reduce the outside noise. The plywood on the roof now had to be extended to cover the bales completely and given some protection to the elements. More plywood was got from Atlantic in Earsham and away we went. The outside grew and grew into a wonderful viable shape that included sheltered seating areas and the inside became beautiful, especially when lit by the light coming through the Thomas the Tank Engine umbrella we used to cover the wheel rim in the centre – a wonderfully serendipitous result. Another 8 hour day and it was done….
After delaying the build because of all the rain at the end of July we finally went ahead and built the structure on 1st August 2015. Dan Clarke came with his straw bale building expertise and I was helped by Pam, Katie, Sam, Barnaby and Louise (one of the curators).
I took a stop motion video of the build for SoundHide at the River Waveney Study Centre for the 2015 Sculpture Trail, Waveney and Blyth Arts. The Hide will house a sound installation of the wildlife recordings made at the site over the last 6 months:
We had a fantastic day. Perfect weather. The walls went up by lunchtime and then we had to fit the roof. This was much slower. First we installed the pole and set a Land Rover rim onto it. The rafters were fed into this and a screw held them in place.
It had involved trigonometry to design the roof so that we could use the sheets of ply cut on the diagonal. With 12 rafters we needed about 2 feet of lift in the middle to reduce the angle at the centre from 30˙ to the 26˙ you get when ripping the ply on the diagonal. Even so each section had to be marked up and cut individually. After a long 10 hour day we got the roof in place.