Rubble Music, Thor McIntyre-Burnie

The Bandstand, Arnold Circus, Shoreditch, London.
October 2008.

Rubble Music was a site-specific sound installation by artist Thor McIntyre- Burnie at the Bandstand, Arnold Circus, Shoreditch, London.

It was special collborative commission with Measure as part of the Concrete and Glass music and arts festival which took place on 2nd – 3rd October 2008 in over twenty established music venues and art galleries in the Shoreditch, Hoxton and Brick Lane areas of East London, and was supported by Time Out London.

Using specialist seismic and infrasound- recording instruments, Thor recorded the vibrations and sounds found beneath Arnold Circus mound; a park created from the rubble of one of London’s worst Victorian slums, cleared for one of the first housing estates in Europe.

The aim was to tap into this resonant site and give voice to the mound by replaying its inner vibrations as sounds from the sites bandstand, thereby temporarily transforming the function of this derelict bandstand. Arnold Circus is now a site for gardening and regular events organised by the Friends of Arnold Circus.

“There is something about Arnold Circus that offers visitors a sense of discovery, on the one hand its so grand and central and in the other its ragged and forgotten. As the epicenter of the grand urban design, fed by seven roads it feels like a kind of hub, a vortex of threads, drawing in and bulging up into a mound.

The fact that this mound was created from the rubble and ruin of one of London’s worst slums is hard to ignore, it becomes an integral element of the sites allure. Consequently one senses here, that the ground beneath ones feet has a quite potent resonance. Especially as few of the slums inhabitants were actually housed in the grand new estate, but were in fact marginalised by that old gentrification process.

Beneath the surface of green gardens and its cap of tarmac, history bubbled. In fact the way the space fell into decline and dereliction of the years, seemed almost as if the sites seedy history couldn’t stay covered and had began seeping through. Yet at the same time the place retains a beauty and offers a peaceful oasis from the city without – a place for contemplation.It’s these functions, the feel and form of the site that I wanted to work with. This installation marks the first stage in a process of work over the next year of exploring alternate functions for a bandstand in the 21st century.”

Thor Mcintyre-Burnie