Take part in a magical musical mystery tour

Published: 12 June 2012 at 16:23

Free Anglia Ruskin art event will provide soundtrack to the streets of Cambridge

A pedestrian symphony will tour the streets of Cambridge each evening from 18-23 June as part of a new public art project at Anglia Ruskin University.

The free art installation, titled Of Sleeping Birds, invites members of the public to collect a handcrafted wooden speaker box from a secret location in Cambridge, and then embark on a twilight journey as the box becomes a player in a moving orchestra.

The composition is split up so each speaker carried by an audience member plays a different part of the ensemble, for example one might play the violin part, another the voice or horn section.  The speakers contain GPS technology to make sure that each part of the score corresponds to the right part of the city.

Artist Duncan Speakman of the Circumstance collective (http://productofcircumstance.com) said:

Of Sleeping Birds is a symphony for the streets of Cambridge, a composition that the audience carry across the city.  It is a soundtrack to the evening streets and parks, to the people and the place.
“We wanted to create a walk through the city, but not a tourist guide, we didn’t want to tell people things they probably already knew about when certain buildings were built or who lived where.  We wanted to speak about Cambridge through music, to link together a series of different areas into one composition, to use music where words are not enough.
“The speakers act almost like torches or searchlights, the sound reflects and bounces off the walls in each different space, illuminating the different spaces through sound, and because each audience member carries a different ‘instrument’ in the arrangement there is a kind of dialogue between the participants.
“At some points in the walk the audience splits off into different groups, and may find themselves on the opposite side of a grass common to another audience group, at these points the musical conversation happens between the groups across wider spaces.  But the work isn’t just for the people carrying the speakers, they are the orchestra, but the whole city becomes the audience.”

The public can book their free place by visiting www.ofsleepingbirds.com  They will then be emailed with details of the secret city centre location where the walk will depart from. 

Of Sleeping Birds, beginning at 8.30pm each evening from 18-23 June, is part of the VISUALISE programme, which involves a range of contemporary artists working with Anglia Ruskin to create exciting temporary public art projects, exhibitions, workshops and events across Cambridge.

VISUALISE, which is embracing Anglia Ruskin’s areas of excellence in fine art, media and digital technologies, is being project managed by Futurecity and delivered in collaboration with Cambridge City Council.  For further information, visit www.visualisecambridge.org