“As harps for the winds of heaven, my weblike cables are spun.”
Joseph B. Strauss, Chief Engineer Golden Gate Bridge (1937)
Placing contact microphones directly on the cables, I record and compose the sound from inside the bridge, hearing the unique voice of the structure as wind, traffic and tension create vibrations. The research proposal draws on my practice of developing connections, recording and composing with the sounds of bridges across the world. Creating site specific installations, performances and events that tap into the intimate geography of their location while also linking them to a global and historic axis. More than simply the acoustic properties or harmonics in the wires, the sound is also the voice of the bridge. This philosophical approach creates a deep engagement between the physical sound of the structure and related stories, social interaction and live events and their cultural context.
The bridge echoes with a secret language of the vibrations within the structure, songs of the inaudible and inexpressible, desires and dreams, the voices of those who have crossed or jumped into the river below. Every bridge is connected to all other bridges through the vibrations in their structure. Stretching the boundaries of art and technology across geographical and architectural borders into a new acoustic form. All bridges resonate with a secret music, transmitting and receiving messages, codes and signals, heard through the sounds of bridges in multiple locations. Voice and vibration. Concrete and abstract. A sensual aurality. Immersed in the world by your ear. Going beyond country borders, without seeking to collect and represent the sounds of each bridge into a structured hierarchy, or impose order from above in a singular artist composer viewpoint, but gathering, amplifying, connecting and disseminating a multiplicity of voices in freely evolving form.
While bridges form connections between places, cultures and people, they remain grounded in their own local social and cultural contexts. The bridge is a symbol resonant with meaning, myth and personal significance. Exploring the philosophy of bridges, how their form and meaning travels is an ongoing creative enquiry throughout “Singing Bridges”. Connecting people, places and cultures, bridges are always singing, all we need to do is stop and listen.