White Sound: An Urban Seascape
Thursday 22 September 2011 - Sunday 16 October 2011
This autumn, noise from the gridlocked traffic on the
Euston Road in Central London will be replaced by the sound of
waves breaking onto pebbles with White Sound: an urban
seascape, a newly commissioned work by Bill Fontana at
For three weeks a live audio feed of the Dorset shoreline plays
out of speakers mounted onto the façade of Wellcome Collection.
Sounds of crashing waves envelope the building and the surrounding
public to create an entirely new acoustic architecture that
challenges our sense of place and dissolves the physical sensation
of being in the city within an experience of the tidal rhythms of
Sitting in traffic queues, time can appear to slow painfully,
but the seascape evokes a natural activity that moves towards a
deeper time: a continuous cycle carried over thousands of years.
Placing the hypnotic sound of Chesil Beach on the congested Euston
Road, White Sound raises questions about our understanding
of stillness and movement, in both urban and natural
Chesil Beach is formed of a unique 18-mile pebble bank, with the
Fleet Lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. Its stones,
largely chert and flint, are graded neatly along its length, such
that fishermen arriving by night are said to be able to locate
themselves by the size of the pebbles beneath their feet. The beach
is part of the Jurassic Coast, and a UNESCO designated World
Film footage from the beach will play in Wellcome Collection
throughout the installation’s run.
Presented with support from Camden Council, Haunch of
Venison and Socially Responsive Art and Design Hub.
Film © Bill Fontana 2011