Working in collaboration with g8 artists to respond to the theme of Leicester’s industry, both past and present. The new commissioned artworks have been made in response to collections of historic objects and museum artefacts as part of a group exhibition in the new galleries, at Attenborough Arts Centre, 9 June – 20 August 2017.
I have been invited to produce a soundtrack which reflects Leicester’s social and industrial legacy. To capture the memories of retired industrialists and the legacy it has left behind, including community and volunteer groups from Abbey Pumping Station, Leicestershire Industrial History Society and Men in Sheds at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland.
The exhibition will also examine the links between industry and parks to highlight ‘Leicester EXPO 72’, a major celebration of industry and science held at Abbey Park in 1972, to draw connections between the development of city parks and the industries that funded them.
With this in mind I have met with and interviewed retired industrialists, captured field recordings at Abbey Park and Billy Bates fair to reflect the history of Leicester’s urban green spaces and recorded sound from the factory at Cooke Optics Limited, a Leicester-based company who have been producing lenses for the film industry since 1894.
The new soundscape The Workforce Symphony has been produced using a mixture of field recordings, interviews and oral history archives to produce a narrative that explores the rhythmic sounds created by industrial machinery, the patterns of voices recounting stories and the natural environment. The composition is layered with sound recordings gathered from factories, workshops, vintage industrial machinery, parks, wildlife and interviews with retired industrialists and manipulated to mimic the sounds of industry or stretched, repeated and reversed to produce new and unexpected audio samples.
Listen to The Workforce Symphony, 2017 below:
The exhibition is supported by Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester and Leicestershire & Museum Services, Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and Leicester City Council.
With thanks to Abbey Pumping Station, Leicestershire Industrial History Society, Men in Sheds at Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland, Cooke Optics Limited, Abbey Park and the East Midlands Oral History Archive, University of Leicester.