The Science Museum’s Sound Artist in Residence, Aleks Kolkowski, recreates a historic form of sound recording in a series of live demonstrations throughout the summer at the Museum with ‘Phonographies – Live Wax Cylinder Recordings’.
These one-off events demonstrate the art of inscribing sound onto wax cylinders via a hand-cranked Edison phonograph from 1909. Each session features a distinguished guest musician, artist or writer who records ‘acoustically’ by speaking or playing sounds into a horn. The finished wax cylinder recordings are then played back on the phonograph through a giant antique concert horn. Aleks will also explain the process of inscribing grooves and acoustic sound recording techniques.
Sessions at the Museum include:
Mick Jackson, Writer in Residence - 20th June, 1pm
Cheryl Tipp, Wildlife Sounds Curator, Sound Archive, British Library - 27th June 1pm
Nahum Mantra (curator of Kosmica for Arts Catalyst) - Theremin - 28th June 1pm.
Events are free but bookable through the Science Museum bookings line 0870 8704868 or at any sales desk inside the Museum.
Phonograph cylinders were the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. The cylinder-shaped objects had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was played on a mechanical phonograph. However, cylinders were superseded by gramophone disc records introduced in the early 1900s.
Aleks Kolkowski, says, "Not only do we witness at first hand this historic form of mechanically inscribing sound, but we are also treated to live music and readings by the guest artists and writers. Their etched recordings give us a rare and unusual opportunity to hear the present through a pioneering technology from the distant past."
In addition, as part of Exhibition Road Music Day on 23 June, the Science Museum is hosting sessions and performances about the history and culture of recording and noise and Alex will be will be recreating a 1905 concert for live musicians, using recorded voices and a giant air-powered auxetophone - the very first technology that successfully combined live and recorded sound.
Aleks Kolkowski is the Science Museum’s Sound Artist in Residence for one year as part of the ‘Supersonix’ Festival. Supersonix, organised by the Exhibition Road Cultural Group, also includes Music Day, a three-day international conference, artist residences, and new work and commissions.
Aleks is a composer, violinist, sound artist and researcher. He was born and is based in London. Over the past 12 years, Aleks has explored the potential of historical sound recording and reproduction technology, combining his unique collection of horned string instruments with gramophones and wax cylinder phonographs to make contemporary mechanical-acoustic music.
For more information visit www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
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Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk / 0870 870 4868
Notes to Editors
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