Monday, 16 February 2015

Poetics of (Outer) Space at Ikon

Caroline Devine, Poetics of (Outer) Space (2015). Promotional poster for sound installation (detail). Courtesy the artist

Caroline Devine

Poetics of (Outer) Space


18 – 22 March 2015

Off-site installation: Perrott’s Folly

Ikon returns to Birmingham’s historic landmark Perrott’s Folly, transforming this eighteenth century tower with a multi-channel sound installation by artist and composer Caroline Devine.

Poetics of (Outer) Space (2015) explores the natural acoustic resonances of stars and the orbits of newly discovered exoplanets – here sonified data from the NASA Kepler mission is presented as an evolving composition. In this way starlight is translated to sound – described by Devine as “reimagining the Music of the Spheres in the age of the exoplanet”.


Poetics of (Outer) Space is presented as a ‘vertical’ composition which rises up through the folly, with stars positioned according to their age, frequency range and the number of exoplanets they host. Frequencies relating to the natural acoustic resonances of the youngest star can be heard on the first floor of the folly with the top floor housing sounds relating to the recently discovered (but ancient) Kepler-444 star system and the orbits of its five exoplanets.

The work was developed throughout 2014 during Devine's Leverhulme Artist Residency with the Solar and Stellar Physics Group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham. Devine has collaborated with Professor Bill Chaplin and the group since 2012 and has incorporated solar data into a number of sound works including Space Ham for BBC Radio 3 (2013), Oscillate for SOUNDWORKS, ICA (2012) and 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun (2012) - shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award in 2013.

"My practice investigates the boundaries between sound and music, encompassing electroacoustic composition, sound installation and radio. I have a particular interest in the use of space as a compositional parameter and in the ways that sound articulates space and spaces influence sound. My work focuses on the exploration of voices and sounds that are obscured, silenced or are in some way absent - making imperceptible or ignored signals audible through amplification or transformation to acoustic form." Caroline Devine

Poetics of (Outer) Space is open 12–5pm, with free entry and the folly is located 20 minutes walk from Ikon and 5 minutes from Hagley Road. Full address: Perrott’s Folly, Waterworks Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B16 9AL. Please note the Folly is not accessible to wheelchair users or pushchairs due to the steep spiral staircase. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

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