A commission for the National Trust at the Birmingham Back to Backs, The show is a partnership between doTb and Friction Arts. Residuum is a collection of unique sound pieces that explores, reflects and exposes the hidden layers of the history of each house.
"For our house is the corner of our world. as has often been said, it is our universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word, if we look at it intimately, the humblest dwelling has beauty"
Gaston Bachelard (Poetics of space)
This collection of 5 sound pieces reflects the notion of layers, echoes of the architecture and the personal histories of the Back to Back properties. Sound Artists Justin Wiggan and Darren Joyce (Dreams Of Tall Buildings) have created unique sound pieces which have a symbolic connection with the layering of materials seen in the houses, the layers of wall paper, painted stencils, layers of lead paint and spaces stripped back to re-expose it's first use as a new space, a home, a dwelling.
DoTb have collected raw materials from the venue by using a hand scanner to scan the walls, floors and personal belongings from certain rooms, they have then turned this visual documentation into sound via computer software to generate a sound library of raw exposed sounds. The pieces honour their own heritage, mirroring the same way the inhabitants always recycled material, used it until it was unfit for its purpose, so changed its purpose. i.e. trousers become pillow stuffing or a rug.
Each of these pieces also reflects the technological development of the houses, a slow crawl through each house adding another technological aspect form the last, e.g. stencils turning to wall paper, no running to running water inside the home, from gas lamps to electricity and the introduction of the light bulb.
With this sound installation doTb have added another emotional layer to the back to back tour, not wanting to dominate the chosen rooms with sound and lose the histories being told, they have added subtle almost subliminal bridge between the residue of the space and it’s hidden stories.
Overview of pieces:
1. Entrance: sound shower - white noise a sonic cleansing before entering the space, This sound is to sonically cleanse you of the present. This is preparing you for the unfolding journey into the history of the back to backs.
2. Time capsule: the untouched raw room - -This piece utilises the atmosphere of the visual strain the walls have on the visitor, brooding sub frequencies an emotional phonic netting reflecting a space untouched by hand, burnt by time, light and neglect. The room is divided into a harmonically pairing of dark and light , a push and pull between the front and back rooms. The history of the layers are prised out the walls, this room shows slow crawl of time itself as it has been stripped back to its bare bones.
3.Crowded house: bedroom no.2 The Oldfields – A binaural experience containing muted resonances from the histories of the architecture its people and lives once lived.
4. Mitchell's room - The sounds presented here mirror the technological developments from gas power to the invention of domestically available electricity and the utopian promise it failed to deliver. The room is washed in the battle of the two technologies, heralded by the voice of a young child struggling to sing for a utopian freedom. These frequencies resolve in the lamented funeral organ piece symbolising the beginning of the economic depression and the futility of man against time.
5. Exit Passage from George Saunders shop - sound shower - pink noise a sonic cleansing to take you back to the present.