Robert Jarvis shortlisted again for the New Music Award


Robert Jarvis, sound designer for DAD’s documentary Watermark, has been  shortlisted once again for the ‘New Music Award’, this time for hus proposed new sound installation for the Armagh Observatory, in Northern Ireland.  Inspired by the movement of the stars around the Celestial North Pole, the composition will give voice to the stars and our changing perspective of them as the Earth revolves on its axis. As they cross equally spaced lines of longitude emanating from Celestial North stars will trigger their own unique sounds dependent on their brightness, size and distance from Earth, and will thus provide a first-time experience for many blind and partially sighted people to encounter the beauty and wonder inherent in the celestial patterns.  The work will eventually be based in the grounds of the Armagh Observatory and will play in synchronisation with the rotation of the Earth, thus making a very real connection between its listeners and the wider universe.

The New Music Award recognises and celebrates leading innovators in the UK, providing investment, support and profile for exceptional and pioneering music creators.  The biennial award offers a £50 000 prize to a musical idea that has not yet been realised, and is open to anyone based in the UK.  The award encourages creators to push the boundaries of their artistic practice, extending the possibilities of music regardless of which genre they work in.  A panel of judges will select the most exciting idea from the shortlist, which will be awarded the prize in September 2010. Click here for more info. See also New music award shortlist.

Jarvis’s most recent sound installation, Armaghoclock, is currently being exhibited at the Market Place Theatre Main Gallery, also in Armagh, until the 15th May, 2010. This work takes the form of a virtual timepiece utilising the whole of the exhibition space, and playing a different sound recorded from around the City every minute. With the aid of twelve loudspeakers positioned around the gallery in similar manner to the numbers around the circumference of a clock face, each of the sounds pans around the gallery space imitating the sweep of a clock’s second hand.  The recordings range from the intimate to the well-known, referencing local trades, leisure and nature.  A visual element in the centre of the gallery provides a guide for listening, and together the sounds combine to give their own account of the City’s identity, the people within it, and our changing soundscape. Click here for the website.

And finally, closer to home, from the 1st May Jarvis’ sound installation for The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, in Surrey, will be on show once again. Situated in a secluded part of the garden known as ‘The Oriental Pond’, the piece takes its inspiration from the genetic makeup of the plants around where the installation is based.  Out of the calm ambience, a series of musical compositions emanate from around the pond corresponding to selected plants growing nearby.  Fast moving but gentle musical patterns derived from the plants’ DNA contrast with slower melodies based on different amino acid sequences governing the processes of growth and aging.  The sounds slowly fade in, teasing the ears with their presence, and quietly dance around the pond before fading out again returning the listener to the garden’s gentle soundscape. For more information on the Sculpture Garden, including visiting times click here.