10th January – 6 March 2015
Wooden K2 Telephone Kiosk, Burlington House entranceway, Piccadilly W1J 0BD
Duration: looped 4 hour
This commission is the 3rd of 4 new sound works made for Telephone, our project celebrating 90years since the first red K2 phone box was designed and made by Giles Gilbert Scott. This wooden prototype has been sited outside the Royal Academy in London since 1926 and is where you can hear this new work by Dan Scott.
Taking a cue from Thomas Edison’s off-the-cuff remarks about inventing a Spirit Telephone, Liberation through Hearing explores the telephone’s connection to the afterlife and other worlds, both as analogy and agent for mediumship. The piece operates within a contemporary space of liminality – the on-hold phone system, where an anonymous voice drifts in and out of the earpiece accompanied by an repetitive musical score.
For Telephone, Scott has made a live recording of the default on-hold music installed on 64 million Cisco phone systems worldwide. This sound track is a long-form ritualistic work in itself, with the music performed in real-time over a number of hours by the artist and musicians from ARCO.
Punctuating this composition, are spoken recitals of real and imagined texts, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘A History of Spiritualism’; ethnographic accounts of the use of telephones in shamanic cults; the autobiography of Thomas Watson – inventor of the telephone and regular at seances – as well as earlier accounts of the afterlife such as Dante’s ‘Purgatory’ and Emmanuel Swedenborg’s ‘Heaven and Hell’.
On-hold voice: Glyn Pritchard
Musicians: Dan Scott, Neil Luck, Chihiro Ono, Adam De La Coeur.
Music: Opus Number 1 by Tim Carleton & Darrick Deel
Recorded by Reuben Kane.
Mixed by Dan Scott