Brooklyn BridgeBrookyln Bridge, recording the cables. New York City, USA.


Project Outline

"Singing bridges" is a sonic sculpture, playing the cables of stay-cabled and suspension bridges as musical instruments. To create this work I will amplify and record the sound of bridge cables around the world. Listening in to the secret voice of bridges as the inaudible vibrations in the cables are translated into sound.

An urban sound-scape that reflects the physical and metaphoric structure of the telecommunications network, with its fibre-optic cables circling the globe. The iconography of the bridge cables echoes the telecommunications lines stretching across the globe and linking us together. The work plays on an acoustic extension and interpretation of the constant flow of information and data through these cables.

In the ultimate realisation of this idea, bridges at locations around the world are linked and played in real-time to create an International Bridge Symphony. As the Bridges are connected through the sound of their cables, they create an Acoustic Indra's Net.

The cables of the bridge also reflect the vaulting in a church, designed to lift the spirit of the congregation to heaven with the vibrations of the choir's singing. A metaphor for spiritual communication, the bridge cables arching skyward have the potential to lift the commuter to a higher plane.

The project offers a re-interpretation of the familiar architecture of concrete and steel into an experience of metaphysical connection. Allowing for the possibility of a transformative experience of the bridge, other than the everyday pragmatic, economic and visual encounters with architecture.

The sound of singing bridges all around the globe may also strike the resonant frequency of the earth's materials and dissolve the world. Echoing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was freed from material constraints when the resonant frequency was struck by the wind. Sounding the harmonic frequency within the unheard vibrations of the cables will release the voice and liberate the spirit of each bridge.


Project Outcomes

The work is an experimental sonic sculpture, with many possible venues. It can be performed live at the bridge location, with live audio streaming web-cast of performance in real-time linking bridges across the world. Sound can also be amplified on the bridge at each location. Played on an interactive web-site. Narrow-cast on local radio frequencies to be listened to while driving or walking over the bridge, radio broadcasts exhibited in electronic & sound art exhibitions. Day to day account published on the Internet as the project evolves. Up to the minute reports on recording from each bridge location as it happens. CD compilation of artists using sound samples from the bridge to create music.


Brief History

This work was conceived during the construction of the Glebe Island Bridge in Sydney, Australia in 1995. As a first step in the International Bridge Symphony, the cables on the unfinished bridge were recorded with the assistance of ABC Radio's The Listening Room crew. An excerpt of this recording was heard on ABC Radio National Arts Today program "The Art of the Bridge".

The edited work "Song to Dissolve the World" was included in "Sound in Space - Audiotheque" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, May 1995. This piece was then published by MIT Press in "Leonardo Music Journal CD Vol 6 - The Lyre's Isle, A Survey of Australian Sound Art and Design", curated by Douglas Kahn in December 1996. It was exhibited in Perth Institute of Contemporary Art "Sound States - Uncertain Destinations" in May 1997, and published in HQ Magazine follies page HQ Magazine Nov/Dec 1996; and "Essays in Sound II - Technophonia", Sydney Contemporary Sound Arts 1995.