Concrete Antenna is a sound installation in the new Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop tower, exploring the past, present and (potential) future of the Workshop’s site. It opened on Wednesday 11th March 2015 and run until the end of June 2016.
In the installation, sound gathered from audio archives and specially made field recordings rises, falls, breaks apart and splices back together along multiple speakers up the 28 metre tall triangular concrete tower, evoking the site’s various histories as a blacksmith, a railway siding close to the Newhaven docks and now a thriving creative workshop beside a wildlife-rich cycle route.
Using a range of unusual production techniques derived from the tower itself, the recordings – foghorns, train whistles, gas work demolition, birdsong, construction work, wind in fishing boat sails and many more – are slowly reshaped in the piece, coalescing from their original form to something new, musical and celebratory.
The installation responds in subtle ways to the state of the tide at Granton, the prevailing weather conditions, and the movement of visitors in the tower, creating a unique experience for every listener. In doing so, the tower becomes a concrete antenna, picking up impressions of the imagined sonic memory of the site, which mingle with the natural soundscape trickling in through a periscope-like gap at the top of the building.
As such, whilst the installation will run continuously throughout 2015, it will never sound quite the same, with each visit – however long or short – yielding a new listening experience as the sounds of the site are constantly remade.