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Students’ work showcased at the National Science and Media Museum


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The sounds of Bradford’s Mirror Pool Fountain have been captured with the help of students at Leeds Beckett, as part of a new exhibition at the National Science and Media Museum.

Students’ work showcased at the National Science and Media Museum

The project, Journey through the Mirror Pool, has been created by world-renowned sound recordist, Chris Watson (Springwatch, The Life of Birds, Frozen Planet) with Manchester-based sound artists, Noise Orchestra, Leeds Beckett lecturers Dr Alan Dunn and Paul Ratcliff, with a team of students from Leeds Beckett and the University of Bradford. 

Journey through the Mirror Pool is a sonic descent from Bradford Town Hall’s 67m high bell tower down to the very surface of the Mirror Pool public fountain and, uniquely, further down into its mechanical underbelly. 

The team, which included MA Art and Design student, Naomi Gilby, final year BA (Hons) Fine Art students, Paul Walsh and Paulina Kalwarska, and final year BA (Hons) Graphic Arts and Design student Marcus Christensen, explored the Mirror Pool using contact microphones, hydrophones and bat detectors, and electromagnetic recordings to reveal sounds of Bradford that the human ear cannot normally get close to, or even detect.

Supersenses project

An eight-minute composition will be played in the gallery, taking visitors on a unique audio-journey that reveals very different aspects of this familiar attraction. 

Dr Alan Dunn, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett, said: “We've been honoured to have the world's leading sound recordist Chris Watson working with our visual arts students at Leeds Beckett since 2009. His annual masterclasses have had a significant influence on how we creatively relate to sound and, this year, we had the opportunity to open out the collaboration, thanks to the invitation from the Science and Media Museum. 

“As ever, Chris was very generous with his advice and sharing of knowledge and we think the final piece really captures a 'portrait' of Bradford nobody has ever heard before. What pleases me most about working with Chris is that we are able to involve staff and students from a wide range of years and courses. Chris keeps making space in his incredibly busy calendar to work with us as he really values the ideas our students generate, rather than a purely technical knowledge."

 Supersenses project

Journey through the Mirror Pool forms part of the National Science and Media Museum’s Supersenses exhibition, which runs from 15 July to 8 October.  The exhibition aims to challenge and tantalise visitors with unusual sights, sounds, tastes, and smells, as it explores many different ways the world can be perceived. 

Senior Exhibitions Manager at the National Science and Media Museum, John O’Shea, said: “With Supersenses we have created a series of really immersive, unusual experiences in our galleries, that cannot be encountered anywhere else. We want visitors to leave this exhibition with a better understanding of how we each ‘sense’ the world differently, and be encouraged to continue to test out their senses after they leave the museum.” 

For more information about this free exhibition, please click here

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