Caro’s sculpture, Sea Music, became a stage for a new work combining projection, sound and movement by Richard Waring and Sian Hutchings.

Sea Music is considered an important sculpture created by one of Britain’s greatest sculptors, Anthony Caro, and is the only site-specific public sculpture by the artist in the UK. The piece responds to the waves of boat sails and echoes the sound of the sea.

The performance, Transmission, supported by AUB and Arts Council England, re-envisioned Sea Music as a performative spectacle, created by BA (Hons) Fine Art Course Leader, Richard Waring, and artist and alumnus Sian Hutchings.

In the piece, performers reacted to pre-recorded audio; the noise of steel captured through contact microphones attached directly to Sea Music’s surface. The performing artists responded to the sonic traces, an analogue from an industrial past, hearing it for the first time, live on the night. This discordant gesture, a play by the artists on unknowingness, gave the performance a vulnerability that echoes that of the sculpture itself, perched on the edge of Poole quay side. 

As the performers responded to Sea Music’s roars and hisses, a horizon of white light swept up and down, simulating the smooth progression of a scanner as it moves across a page. This white line connects the work to other possibilities and ideas – the blinding radiance of a nuclear horizon; the edge of a page; a row of glitched empty pixels. Through this machinic gesture, we witness the unfolding illumination of bodies as they move around the sculpture.

The work plays with the multiple meanings of scan. To scan is to search; to traverse; to resolve for transmission; to analyse the rhythms of sound; to convert into digital form. This conversion, the transformation of objects into numerical code, has enabled the digitization of archives, libraries and collections across the world. The scanner is like a vast universal eye flicking through space, translating everything in its field into signals. These signals, compressed and stored as bits and bytes, can be called upon at anytime to reveal the world as an image. 

Watch a clip from Transmission:

YouTube thumbnail

To celebrate Sea Music, AUB took part in a number of events, including hosting a recent talk from Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Peter Murray.