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‘The Sound of Silver’

Author(s): Karen Brown

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 1;
Start page: 55;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: University Museum | Silver | Sonic Art

In December 2007, the Naughton Gallery at Queen's will unveil a major, semi-permanent exhibition of silverware and sonic art, funded principally by NESTA ( Using technology developed by the University's Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) and interface design by a leading practitioner and curator of sound art, Chris Murphy, the exhibition aims to display and interpret the University's diverse and interesting silver collection in a fresh and innovative way. International sound artists are currently being commissioned to compose six-minute soundscapes based on individual items from the collection. Their responses will be based not only on the history and provenance of the items, but also on materials, techniques, and the aesthetic qualities or emotions attached to them; for example 'triumph' for a ceremonial mace, 'loss' or 'victory' for a crucifix, and 'affection' for a certain donation or bequest. To mark the occasion, a new silverware commission will use a combination of 21st century hydraulic-forming technology, together with the ancient crafts of hand-raising and planishing, and will be included as part of the visual and aural display. A film recording the production of this piece, together with 3D images and the soundscapes, will then be brought together in an interactive display accessible to people of diverse ages and abilities. This paper considers both practical and theoretical concerns relating to this project.
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