THE THEATRE OF THE MIND
The Theatre Of The Mind is a 5 channel sound installation I composed in 2011 for a SOUNDkitchen project commissioned by The Destroyers for their 1920s themed concert at Town Hall, Birmingham. the work was created from sound material contributed by members of the SOUNDkitchen collective.
The dramatic audio performances of early radio coined the phrase ‘The Theatre of the Mind’ as it was proposed that they engaged the listener’s imagination more actively than visual theatre.
This sound installation references the advent of commercial radio broadcasting and the proliferation of radio listening, which overtook the gramophone in homes throughout America and Europe in the 1920s. In addition to the vintage technology used, the sound material also acknowledges the period through the use of noise associated with the mediums of radio and gramophone and samples of archive radio broadcasts, commercials and music from the period.
The 1920s also saw significant developments in the field of electronic music, with the invention of electronic instruments such as the Theremin and Ondes Martenot. The latter favoured by the composer Olivier Messiaen. The Italian Futurist, Luigi Russolo, in 1921, gave a performance of his noise-generating devices called Intonarumori, a physical realisation of theory contained in his 1913 manifesto L’Arte dei Rumori (The Art Of Noises). References to these instruments and composers can also be heard in this work.
The Theatre Of The Mind was first presented on 10th December 2011 in two spaces in Town Hall, Birmingham, in support of a 1920′s themed concert by local band The Destroyers. A 5 channel installation of vintage wooden valve radios was installed in alcoves in the bar area. A second 5 channel installation incorporating vintage radios, a modified gramophone and a props depicting a 1920′s style sitting room was positioned in the foyer. Both installations played the same sound material.
Further exhibitions at The Edge, Birmingham 26 January 2012 as part of the SOUNDkitchen launch event for the Network Music Festival 2012 and in the foyer of Symphony Hall, Birmingham 7 April 2012 as part of the ‘Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces’ event curated by Fierce.