To commemorate Duxford’s centenary, IWM commissioned sound artist Nick Ryan to create a site specific sound sculpture. The core concept was to use light to transmit archival audio recordings of people’s memories of Duxford airbase. We were brought on as collaborators to design, produce and install the sculpture, and technology.
The centrepiece of the experience brings together elements of historic aircraft from around the museum to create an abstract plane form.
One hundred lights lie underneath the plane’s fabric surface and innovative use of custom electronics allow each light to transmit it’s own audio signal. Each light pulses imperceptibly as narrative fragments, voices, signals, anecdotes, and stories are played through them.
These signals are picked up by the visitor on a custom made receiver that incorporates a light sensor and headphones. The analogue nature of the technology allows people to move between the lights and mix the recordings like scanning a radio.
A background soundscape compliments the experience, guiding visitors through a fifteen minute show that incorporates a dramatic recording of a Spitfire flypast.