Sound Artist in Residence

Sound Artist in Residence

Aleksander Kolkowski

Read about the artwork

Aleks Kolkowski records Aaron Williamson, Camberwell, 2009 (image Helen Petts)

wax cylinder

  • wax 2

Aleksander Kolkowski - Sound Artist in Residence

  • January 2012 – January 2013

Aleksander Kolkowski was the Science Museum's first sound artist-in-residence - a post established as part of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group's Supersonix project.

The Science Museum's Sound Recording and Reproduction Collection provided a unique source of inspiration for Aleks' research based practice. In a groundbreaking performance for Exhibition Road Music Day (23 June 2012) he breathed life back into the archaic technology of the Auxetophone-Gramophone from 1905 in a performance featuring the long-departed voices of Enrico Caruso and Nellie Melba on 78rpm records, with live accompaniment by musicians from the Royal College of Music.

Watch Aleks’ Auxetophony on The Space website

Aleks marked the anniversary of 2LO, the radio transmitter used for the first BBC broadcast in 1922 with Babble Machine; a multi-layered installation work, comprising archive recordings, newly-composed text and hefty doses of radio interference. The residency studio was transformed with an array of vintage radio horns, receivers and suspended objects eerily emitting sounds from the past and the present, including a live feed from the Science Museum's ‘2LO’ exhibition. Babble Machine takes its name from the news radio-like transmitter predicted by H.G. Wells in his novel 'The Sleeper Awakes' (1899) and was devised by Aleks Kolkowski together with 2LO researcher Alison Hess and historian of science and poet Katy Price.

Other projects include various performances as part of Science Museum Lates, the radio series Hearing Artefacts for Resonance FM, which featured sounds recorded in the Museum and interviews with curators and staff, Phonographies - live wax cylinder recording sessions with special guest artists - and research into and reconstruction of the 'Demonstration Broadcast Loudspeaker', a giant 27ft long exponential horn speaker displayed and demonstrated in the Science Museum's Radio Communication gallery from 1930-39.

About the artist

Aleksander Kolkowski is a composer, violinist, sound artist and researcher born and based in London. His career as a professional musician has spanned over 30 years and, over the past 12 years, Kolkowski 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. This work has been shown across Europe and in the USA, and broadcast by the BBC, WDR, Deutschlandradio and others.

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