Prescot Museum will soon be hosting The Sounds of Time: whirring, ticking sculptures which allow people to hear the individual sounds associated with clockwork. Artist collective Owl Project have used clock parts combined with wood, glass and electronics to make the sculptural pieces based on timepieces through the ages, from hour glasses and pocket watches to modern quartz watches.
Simon Blackmore from Owl Project said: “We’ve used laser technology to isolate individual sounds from clocks and timepieces – like the sound of a single gear turning, the sound of water moving through an ancient water clock and even the sound a quartz crystal makes, which is usually inaudible to humans. When people visit the museum this winter they will not only be able to see, but also hear, the pieces in our exhibition. I hope it will make people look at familiar objects in a new way as we reveal new sounds within old objects.”
Each piece in The Sound of Time will generate a different sound, rhythmical pattern or sequence, and the sounds will be amplified, working together to create a continual composition.
As well as having access to Prescot Museum’s collections, Owl Project also worked with local horologist John Platt who is the author of several books and articles on watchmaking in the North West.
Tina Ball, Culture Development and Events Officer (Museum & Galleries) for Knowsley Council, said: “The local area is known historically for clock and watchmaking and we could immediately see the harmony between Owl Project’s work and the collections we have at the museum. Owl Project are an interesting collective and their work combines their technical abilities with a fascination of engineering and mechanical objects.”
Visitors to Prescot Museum will be able to see and hear the sculptures on show alongside the museum’s collections of items which relate to the area’s industrial, military and social history. When the exhibition ends, the sculptures will be donated to the museum’s collection.
The Sounds of Time will be on show at Prescot Museum from 1 December 2017 until 1 March 2018.
The piece is one of 10 contemporary art commissions as part of Meeting Point2, a year-long project led by contemporary art agency Arts&Heritage. Leading UK and international artists have partnered with the 10 museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections.
Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point2 presents artworks in unexpected places, supporting small and medium scale museums to commission artists to create work in response to the venue. For more information about Meeting Point2, visit www.artsandheritage.org.uk