Tales from the Bridge
The Millennium Bridge crosses the Thames from the Tate Modern to St Paul's Cathedral. During the Olympics it was the site of a sound installation, Tales from the Bridge, by Martyn Ware and David Bickerstaff: a one hour loop composed of music and a poetry narrative for two voices about the Thames by Mario Petrucci. Speakers were placed the length of the foot bridge creating a vast ambient sound environment: music spatialised in Ware's terms. Plus Daniel Hirschman's interactive component means that walkers themselves trigger other tracks so that the experience is never the same twice. The poetry narrative is about the river, its role in London, its poets, its economic lifeline, its anecdotes, its history. The music is Water Night, written by Eric Whitacre and performed by Whitacre's Virtual Choir.
Not only does the sound literally come from and spread out in all directions, the technology and the content too come from all directions. The immersive nature of the new urban sound works are both beautiful and sophisticated, complex and content-heavy. It isn't just ambient music anymore, but something much more sited, in space and time. We can listen to Tales from the Bridge, below, but it will be a much different experience than listening to it over the water, in London, on that bridge.