White Noise

A ratty day in racy London can be a tremendous sensual experience. Just stand at the exit of Oxford Circus underground and let passengers pass you by, elbowing their way out while treading on your feet. Smell the stifling air in the narrow “Piss alley” between Market Place and Margaret street. Or venture onto Euston road and listen to the formidable roar made by tourist buses and trucks mixing with the sirens of ambulances and police cars. Even Bill Fontana’s White Noise – An Urban Seascape, conveyed by a dozen loudspeakers dotted outside the Welcome Collection building, cannot drown it out.  A recording of the sea at Chesil Beach is being transmitted live onto the pavement, drawing attention to the droning traffic by juxtaposing it with the rolling sound of the seashore. Few passers-by notice the trick, however. They look up, slightly puzzled, above the entrance of the Welcome Trust and walk by. I stand under the shower of noise, pebbles rattle in the water, waves hit the ground in guttural fracas, beeping taxis overtake each other. I let my eyes and ears shuffle back and forth, from the natural soundscape to the polluted road. The pink and orange hues of the evening act like a filter to the vibrating soundscape, which has become more palpable than ever. A remake of Sound Island in Paris, over 15 years ago. Another variation of Fontana’s classic ‘sound sculptures’ with water as its core element.

White Noise – An Urban Seascape, Welcome Collection.

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~ by lavivette on October 16, 2011.

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