Renowned sound artist Bill Fontana’s latest sonic sculpture, Vertical Echoes brings the horror of the WWI battlefield to Imperial War Museum (IWM) North in Manchester, England.
Fontana has selected a remotely powered IntelligentDC system from Meyer Sound to reproduce his sound scape and immerse museum visitors.
Vertical Echoes is housed inside a 55m-high tower known as the AirShard. It is the first in a series of artistic responses to World War I commissioned by IWM North in honor of the war’s centennial. The installation runs through 21 September.
Featuring recordings of a Sopwith Camel war plane and vintage field gun, the sound scape is reproduced by eight self-powered UPJunior-XP VariO loudspeakers with IntelligentDC technology. The loudspeakers are evenly spaced along the vertical axis of the structure.
Fontana explains: “There’s extreme dynamic range in the work, from artillery fire and the buzzing biplane, to wind in the trees and twittering birds. The UPJunior-XPs were ideal for this piece because they offered both clarity and dynamic range.”
“It’s just so much easier to work with in situations like this,” notes Fontana. “You don’t have to run AC or long speaker cables, but you still get true bi-amplified systems. The UPJunior-XPs were perfectly suited to this application.”
The Meyer Sound loudspeakers were provided and installed by Pro Audio Systems of Bradford, West Yorkshire, with project management headed by Lee Unsworth.
Recognized as one of the world’s foremost sound artists, Bill Fontana has created sound sculptures around the world since 1976. In 1999, Fontana’s requirement for very small, high-quality loudspeakers for his installation along the Lyon, France tramway provided the impetus for Meyer Sound to develop the MM-4, the first in the company’s popular line of miniature loudspeakers.