Vertical Echoes by Bill Fontana

Vertical Echoes by Bill Fontana

New Sound Installation at IWM North from 1 May 2014 Launching Reactions 14 – a major contemporary art series to mark the First World War Centenary

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A new installation by an internationally renowned sound artist will be the first in a major series of contemporary art works – specially commissioned by IWM North, part of Imperial War Museums to mark the First World War Centenary.

The roar of a First World War biplane and the echoes of a field gun from the trenches will greet visitors to IWM North – through the unique new sound sculpture.

The work, Vertical Echoes, has been created by American artist Bill Fontana.  Fontana’s critically acclaimed works have been installed in public spaces and museums around the world.  He has worked on projects including London’s Millennium Bridge, and has a reputation for his pioneering experiments in sound.

The new art work at IWM North in Manchester uses eight loudspeakers and vibration sensors to project the recorded sounds from the First World War.

The dramatic sound of the Sopwith Camel Biplane and artillery field gun will rise and fall as visitors enter through the 55m high AirShard section of IWM North’s building.

Once inside IWM North, visitors will be able to explore the stories behind the sounds further by discovering the field gun that fired the British Army’s first shot of the First World War and a replica Sopwith Camel biplane.

Imperial War MuseumIWM North’s landmark building, designed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind, is itself an artistic response to conflict. IWM North’s iconic structure is inspired by the idea of a world shattered by conflict.

The building is made up of three interlocking shards representing the three places where war is fought – land, water and air. The jagged shape of the IWM North AirShard is one of the most iconic features on the Manchester skyline; with a 100 feet high viewing platform.

Entry to IWM North and to the installation is free, but visitors can book to see Bill Fontana In Conversation with Ben Borthwick on 1 May (£8). Borthwick, an expert in sound installations, is a curator and writer specialising in international contemporary art.

WW2 GunThe Vertical Echoes sound installation installation opens on 1 May and runs until 21 September 2015. The high performance loudspeakers used in the installation were provided by leading manufacturer Meyer Sound.

Fontana’s artwork is the first part of Reactions14 – the first work in a major season of high-quality artworks and live performances, specially commissioned to mark the First World War Centenary.

The Reactions14 series will feature live performances and installations throughout 2014 – including new works such as a performance by English National Ballet for Museums at Night in May; a 30 day live drawing by artist Mark Anstee in August; a new composition by BBC Philharmonic in autumn; and many more.

Graham Boxer, IWM North Director, said: ‘This year marks the start of the centenary of the First World War, a landmark anniversary for Britain and the world. The Reactions14 series at IWM North will challenge visitors to think differently, offering a chance to reflect on the conflict through major series of high profile artworks.’

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