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.


Posted: February 13th, 2015
Categories: Residency, composition, public, sound art, spatial
Comments: No Comments.

Poetics of (Outer) Space

I am working on Poetics of (Outer) Space – a large scale sound installation comprising data from the Kepler mission that has been developed during my Leverhulme Residency with the HiROS team at University of Birmingham.

The Kepler mission surveys the portion of our region of the Milky Way shown in the image below, with the Kepler Field of View located between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra.

NASA Field of View (courtesy Carter Roberts)

NASA Field of View (courtesy Carter Roberts)

The image below shows the 42 individual camera views.

(image courtesy NASA)

image courtesy NASA

Below is a screenshot of a section of one of the Kepler Full Frame images. I have zoomed in on one of the Full Frame Images that can be accessed on the NASA Kepler mission site. Light curves derived from these images, provide the scientists with the data they need to study the stellar oscillations.

Screen shot 2014-11-11 at 14.23.52


Posted: November 11th, 2014
Categories: Residency, composition, public, sound art, spatial
Comments: No Comments.

Shortlisted for BASCA British Composer Awards 2014

I am thrilled that my sound installation, On Air has been shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award. The 2014 Awards take place on 2nd Dec in Goldsmiths Hall in London. I am one of three composers shortlisted in the Sonic Art category.

On Air was a large scale outdoor sound installation for The Open University campus – 100 concealed speakers were located in trees and bushes and throughout the walkway and gardens. On Air comprised archive material, interviews, field recordings and musical elements that formed an acoustic layer of thought, idea and enquiry that floated on the air currents throughout the site. It was commissioned by The Open University in 2013 to celebrate 50 years since Harold Wilson’s University of the Air speech.


Posted: October 20th, 2014
Categories: composition, public events, sound art
Comments: No Comments.

In conversation: art and science

I am looking forward to speaking about my collaboration with Professor Bill Chaplin and the HiROS team at the workshop In Conversation: art and science that takes place in London tomorrow.

Organised by AHRC in partnership with Arts @ CERN, the aim of the workshop is ‘to consider the extent to which bringing artists and scientists together leads to the opening up of creative spaces for each, and how this kind of environment challenges and transforms ways of thinking and working in both scientific and artistic practice.’

Collaborators speaking include CERN physicist, Dr Bilge Demirkoz and artist Goshka Macuga, composer Chris Chafe and Professor of Neurology, Josef Parvizzi, Professor of Comparative Cognition Nicola Clayton and Mark Baldwin of Rambert.



Posted: October 8th, 2014
Categories: Residency, composition, sound art, spatial
Comments: No Comments.

MK International Festival talk

This Weds, 23rd July, I will be joining Ray Lee, Kaffe Matthews, Prof Allan Cochrane and Dr George Revill of the Open University at MK Gallery for a panel discussion entitled One Person’s Noise is Another Person’s Music – the panel will discuss the ways artists can embed their work into a place, challenge perceptions of sound and encourage us to listen and hear differently. The talk is part of the Milton Keynes International Festival IF:Sonic Day and is free to attend.

Posted: July 21st, 2014
Categories: spoken Word
Comments: No Comments.

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.

Posted: February 23rd, 2014
Categories: composition, public events, sound art, sound design
Comments: No Comments.

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.

Posted: January 27th, 2014
Categories: composition, sound art, sound design, spatial, writing
Comments: No Comments.

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.


Posted: November 10th, 2013
Categories: composition, sound art, sound design, spatial
Comments: No Comments.

Earth Loop

My new piece, Earth Loop is finally installed in the lift of MK Gallery. Earth Loop allows a visitor to travel through a parallel radio universe as though they have antennas as well as ears.

This was an intriguing piece to make as I had wanted to record the vibrations in the strings of a lift for some time and I have gained considerable knowledge of the workings of a hydraulic lift along the way. With the assistance of Otis engineers, I was lucky to be able to record sound inside the lift shaft by placing microphones and a recorder on the top of the roof of the lift and sending it off for a journey up and down – the first time that my recorder had made recordings by itself. It was very exciting to listen to the results on its return and hear that I had managed to capture some excellent sounds from the strings themselves.

Earth Loop is made from a collection of lift sounds, voice, sine sweep and auroral chorus and is permanently installed in MK Gallery lift. The new summer exhibition, MK Calling opened last night and runs until 8th September.

Posted: June 28th, 2013
Categories: composition, sound art, spatial, technical
Comments: No Comments.


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.


Posted: January 19th, 2013
Categories: composition, radio, sound art, sound design
Comments: No Comments.