Vacant Space [2007]

Vacant Space is a commission by the Sonic Arts Network to create an immersive installation using sounds and images collected inside a wide variety of empty interiors. The life and space of architecture without human occupation. It embraces the context of the generic white gallery, by amplifying the void. Vacant Space develops some of my early thoughts on the relationship between sound and image, and how that defines architectural space.

Sound is constantly present, whether we are there or not. Using recordings and panoramic photographs collected in a series of empty interiors around the world, the installation reveals and celebrates their life without us present. On entering, the gallery appears silent. Panoramic projections of unoccupied spaces merge and slide across one wall. Plugging headphones directly into the projection wall reveals random layers of amplified location recordings that influence the scrolling visuals in different ways. Three spaces are heard at once in an ever-changing composition, endlessly creating new places. There are still the occasional audible signs of people, but they are either outside of the room or just passing through - highlighting their absence.

Sound travels around corners and through windows. Sound activates space, and space is essential for soundwaves to live out their lives. Imperfections lend character to the world, so forget 'noise cancelling headphones' because this is a study for noise amplifying headphones, where you can hear the edges of time. A typical cycle of the installation lasts for over half an hour and is continuously changing. Vacant Space is never the same twice.


South Hill Park [UK]

Bluecoat Gallery [UK]

Strasbourg Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art [France]

Midlands Arts Centre [UK]

Foundation Liedts-Meesen [Belgium]

Ars Electronica [Austria]