An Island of Sound

Aerial view of reef
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  • From £5 – £10 Concessions available

A live and immersive experience exploring phantom islands as weather phenomena.

This event takes place in the British Library.

From the classical period through the early modern, tales abound of distant islands inhabited by demons, devils, evil spirits, and all manner of winged creatures. The Sirens lure sailors to shipwreck with singing voices. The sprite Ariel conjures up a storm. These are the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of wind.

Poet J. R. Carpenter’s new digital work An Island of Sound explores this narrative via algorithmically generated texts and an assemblage of found images from the British Library’s Flickr collection. Jules Rawlinson’s sound-world for the live performance responds to, supports, and transforms Carpenter’s visual and textual imagery. Field recordings, wind synthesis, generative sample streams and data-driven sound processing are collaged and combined with spoken word to create ambiguous and shifting sonic narratives and spectral resonances.

A Q&A after the performance will be chaired by Maja Maricevic, Head of Higher Education and Science at the British Library.

The performance follows the one-day conference MIX 2023: Storytelling in Immersive Media. The first 100 tickets booked for MIX 2023 also include access to An Island of Sound.

This event accompanies the British Library’s exhibition Digital Storytelling.

J. R. Carpenter is an artist, writer, and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Questions of place, displacement, migration, and climate change have long pervaded her work. Her debut poetry collection, An Ocean of Static, was highly commended for the Forward Prize 2018 and her web-based work has been presented around the world. Her digital poem, The Gathering Cloud, won the 2016 New Media Writing Prize. This is a Picture of Wind: A Weather Poem for Phones is being displayed in the British Library’s Digital Storytelling exhibition. A print collection by the same name was included in the Guardian’s Best Poetry Books of 2020 and longlisted for the Laurel Prize 2021. 

Jules Rawlinson is an audiovisual composer, improviser and designer working in solo and collaborative settings within international networks of practice, and a Senior Lecturer in Digital Design at Edinburgh College of Art in the University of Edinburgh. Jules’ solo works are characterised by filigree layers of detail and texture in sound design, images and musical material such as that in Interval and Instance (2018-22), an exploration of speed, motion and scale from scientific filmmaker Eric Lucey, which premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2018. Recent outputs make innovative use of machine learning and AI design in corpus-based aesthetics of transformation, such as in w[i]nd (2020), an immersive audiovisual experience in a first-person virtual environment. 

Please arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time. 

This event will not be live-streamed.

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Name: An Island of Sound
Where: Pigott Theatre
The Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £5 – £10
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.