A recent exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery in Penzance, Cornwall, featured Genelec 8020B active monitors playing the sound recordings Chris Watson (of BBC TV’s Springwatch fame). A recipient of a BAFTA for his work with Sir David Attenborough, Chris’s latest project saw him collaborate with Phoebe Cummings (the recent V&A artist-in-residence) on a joint work that blends sound and sculpture.
In ‘Down There Among the Roots’, Chris and Phoebe focus on exploring the passage and time and our sensory perceptions of time. By combining aural and visual elements, the two artists draw attention to aspects of geographical landscapes that are often overlooked and make the audience aware of the beauty we don’t always see and hear. Chris describes his work as, “putting a microphone where you can’t put your ears,” and chose Genelec 8020B active monitors to be discreetly installed throughout the exhibition space. Supplied by Source Distribution, the Genelec monitors ensured the original recordings achieve a heightened sensory experience and immersive involvement for the visitor.
The exhibition took place over different levels and spaces across the gallery. On the lower floor, the monitors projected the sounds of subterranean telegraph wires; recorded by burying recording equipment in the ground and using hydrophones submerged in the surrounding ocean. Elsewhere in the gallery, an isolated dark room showcased a spot-lit miniature landscape by Phoebe, with eerie background music from Chris. Another installation is inspired by the exquisite scenes and fragments from the Cornish landscape and was complemented by ‘Recorded in the Air’ a further composition from Chris.
Chris specified Genelec active monitors, having used them to great success in his previous work. Steve Fisher, Genelec product specialist at Source Distribution, took an active role in the installation: “The challenge for us at Newlyn was to guarantee clarity and quality of audio while minimising visual impact on the installation. From the start, it was clear this was an art exhibition not a concert. The sound is an integral part of the art work, so the equipment needed to perform in a way that enhances the experience and not detract from it. The 8020Bs are the perfect fit. The size and colour of the monitors makes them blend into the background and the quality of audio reproduction is clean, focused and true to the original recordings.”