From riding a bicycle with a built-in radio broadcasting system to working with Loughborough’s largest musical instrument – the Carillon Tower, artists Sam Belinfante, Rebecca Lee and Xana are using different methods to capture the town’s sounds and consider the ways in which music, sound and listening contribute to our sense of place.
The trio are developing a wide range of work as part of (re)composition – an ambitious programme of musical, artistic and geographic exploration that looks at music’s ability to transport listeners to new worlds.
(re)composition was commissioned by Radar, the University’s contemporary art commissioning programme, which engages with academic research. It draws on the research of Dr Allan Watson, of the University’s Department of Geography, and has expanded to engage with research across the Social Sciences.
The three artists are using Loughborough as a starting point to explore the power of music and listening to carve out spaces, to negotiate borders, and to create communities.
They will variously work with students, staff and members of the wider community next month (June) and over summer to produce a composition, a collaborative event and an audio-visual installation piece.
Musician, artist and educator Rebecca Lee is drawing on academic research from across the University’s Social Sciences for her piece titled ‘Making it up: this moment of June’.
She is investigating listening in personal and public places, focusing on the interactions that might support people to perform music.
Her piece will see an ensemble of Loughborough musicians use improvisation to explore how listening might become central to the work of the performers as well as the audience.
The concept for Rebecca’s piece is being developed over the course of a number of workshops and will be performed in the Music Practice Room at Cope Auditorium on 9 June.
The recording will be subsequently played on campus and in Loughborough (times and locations to be confirmed) allowing new audiences to hear it in a different context.
On 16 June, sound artist Xana will be travelling around Loughborough town centre on a custom bicycle fitted with digital broadcasting equipment and a sound system as part of her project ‘Disturbing Space’.
The innovative mode of transport, named ‘Soon Reach’, was developed by Xana in response to a series of workshops held in Loughborough, Leicester and London around the themes of connecting through sound, displaced geographies and building free spaces to manifest joy.
Disturbing Space reflects on the power of pirate radio, textile printing and songs about movement, lullabies, rhymes and tales which elevate Black voices.
Soon Reach will be pedalled through the town from 11am-4pm and passers-by are invited to meet with the station and contribute to the broadcast.
Sam Belinfante’s project also entails capturing sounds in the heart of Loughborough – but from the sky rather than the streets.
The artist, who combines filmmaking, photographic work, curating, sound and performance, is creating an audio-visual installation that focuses on the town's Carillon Tower.
Sam, along with volunteers from the Carillon Museum and students from Loughborough and Leicester Universities, recently organised a cleaning session in the tower which is currently undergoing renovations.
He filmed and recorded the clean and will use this material plus footage from Taylor’s Bell Foundry, where repairs to the Carillon’s bells are being carried out, to create the installation.
The final piece will be presented in the Carillon Tower which is expected to reopen later this year.
Nick Slater, Director of LU Arts, Loughborough University’s arts programme, commented: “We are really looking forward to seeing the outcomes of three artists work who we invited to respond to Dr Allan Watson’s research around geographies of music.
“Each artist has taken a very different approach but all the projects have engaged with people and places of Loughborough and give consideration to how we interact with sound and music.”
For more information on the (re)composition artists or for the Disturbing Space route round Loughborough, visit the Radar website.
Rebecca Lee’s recording session is free to attend and should be booked in advance via the dedicated page.
Her event coincides with the University’s brand new Arts Festival (6-15 June). More information on the 10-day celebration can be found here.