2009 _ 002 Urban Songline Latitude: 51.4854° N - 51.48484° N / Longitude: -0.11449° W - -0.11355° W - Gasworks, London, UK

Music created from a 'breathing' Gasholder tank in the South of London, designing a musical score from its different positions and animating from memory the movement over a three months period, which subsequently becomes a scenario for a song or 'Urban Songline'.

The Urban Songline is cut into vinyl and distributed for free amongst DJ's so they can use the records in sampling, re-distributing the co-ownership over this piece of public space.

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Part of the project Urban Songlines, taking the tradition of the Songlines, a system for navigation and care-taking of their land among Aboriginal Australians, translated to mapping urban space by creating music from its topography, discussing how we use and experience the public domain and to what degree we can claim ownership over it.

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When I started my 3-month residency at Gasworks in London I kept staring out of the window of my studio at the Gasholder tank. It moved slowly up and down like an artificial lung. Breathing in the gas from nature and breathing it out again through a network of pipes into the homes around it providing the people with hot food, showers, tea and heating. Through time I began to see the breathing machine as a pivotal point linking nature and the built environment.

So I designed a score using a system of all different positions the tank had been in during my stay and subsequently, drawing from memory its movements as it breathed. This animation thus became a scenario for a musical composition, a song.

Finally I went out in the night with a sensitive taping device and recorded the sounds produced by the site. Hums, hisses, gates and moving machinery became the instruments that played this Urban Songline.

For more information on the residency please click here to visit the Gasworks website.

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Urban Songlines Gasworks was realized with generous support from the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture.


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