an audio installation


revisiting the site

i’m very happy to say that upon revisiting the site recently, 2 and half years on, i found it has been given the TLC it needed! the jungle it had become, which you can see from previous posts, has been complete cleared out and it’s now a pleasant space to explore šŸ™‚



final audio

here’s the set i played at the installation today. it’s not been edited at all, so is exactly what was heard at the site (except for one helicopter effect which was a patch running in Max/MSP). Ā the aim of this piece was not to bring the neglected site back to life, but to highlight the state of disrepair it has fallen into and question why. i hope i was successful, if only in the eyes of a handful of people.

and here’s a little video of the installation in action for anyone who wasn’t able to be there. as you’ll see i printed off a few copies of the ‘Blessing of The Grotto’ photo and hung them around the site so people could see just how severe theĀ degradationĀ of it has been. i left these photos up in the hope that passers-by might notice them and have a look for themselves..

final installation

the installation took place today at 1pm and went really well. a big thank you to everyone that came along! i’ll be uploading some video footage and an audio file of the live set but for now here are some snaps of the site with the installation running, courtesy of Emily Maughan.

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“dress rehearsal”

earlier today i spoke to a chap called Paul Rattenberry who’s kindly agreed to lend me an all-in-one battery powered speaker (pictured below). this does mean i’ll be losing any stereo effects, which there were a lot of, but at this point i don’t really have any other options. i took the speaker down to The Grotto this afternoon to test its volume and although it’s small it does pack a bit of a punch! as the audio quality of the performance itself will be lacking, i’ll be posting a downloadable mp3 of the live set when it’s done so anyone can upload the piece to their mp3 player and visit the site in their own time.

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performance prep.

unfortunately there’s been a bit of a technical hitch with the PA i was hoping to borrow for the installation. i’m currently trying to put my plan B and C options into motion and will have a better idea of what i’m going to be able to do once i’ve spoken to a few people tomorrow.

i’ve been practicing using Ableton Live with my finished samples and come up with a loose 20 minute structure for the piece. weather permitting, the performance will take place on the 17th of may at 1pm. the forecast looks ok but i’m looking into a backup location where weather won’t be an issue; somewhere within Tremough House, as this is where the marines stayed while stationed at Tremough. if i’m forced into this change of site i’ll be using a projector to project images of The Grotto so people are aware of the original location.

i’ve set up an event on Facebook which i’m hoping will bring a few people along, though there will only be room for about 10 bodies so have kept invites to a minimum. below is a map marking the location of the site, which can be found by looking for a hidden set of steps directly opposite the cabin..

Ableton set

so i’m new to Ableton Live, but i saw a friend using it to layer up samples on the fly and thought it would be ideal for this installation. i really like how it works so far and have been playing with an initial sound bank i’ve put together consisting of the elements i’ll be using at the site. this is basically what i’ll be looking at while i perform the piece!


  • setup: 12v – 240 develop or borrow?
  • concept: what will work and how?
  • performance: weather issues, alternatives?

after my tutorial with Antti, in which we discussed the points above, i set about sourcing a portable PA. i have a few options; borrow the yellow 2.1 system pictured below, borrow a battery powered single speaker (no stereo field, so not ideal) or build my own. i have access to a car battery and inverter though this will be a last resort as it’s not something i’ve ever done before.

as for how the installation will work, i was originally planning to create a 20 minute soundscape in Sonar to be played 3 times (a 1 hour installation), but i’ve just started using Ableton Live and have been optimizing my clips for an actual performance using Live. i hope this will make the installation much more spontaneous and interesting and have been practicing with the software using a rough set of samples.Ā i’ve also decided to incorporate Samuel Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ as i think this will compliment the extracts of Churchill’s speeches and sound effects well.