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The horn is a item of deep rooted cultural significance, used historically by angels, prophets and priests invoking, and heralding the dissolution of old forms, reversals and disintegrations. Heimdall, the watchman of the Gods in Norse myth, sounds Gjallarhorn to signal the end of the world, at the battle of Ragnarök, and the end of the world.

The machines that gave us the sounds used in this installation were heralds of a kind, and invoked the end of a pastoral and bucolic England, speeding up manufacturing processes, and bringing the world into a new fast paced industrial age. We have reversed this process, by digitally processing recordings of the machines, we have created a moment of stasis in our post industrial culture.

Using the architecture of the space and material recordings of; the Mill Engine, by the Burnley Ironworks company, 1903, the Difference Engine No2, by Charles Babbage 1849, and the Beam Engine by Benjamin Hick 1840, this immersive installation explores the physical properties of both machine, and of the acoustic realm.

Comissioned as part of the 'Exponential Horn' exhibition, a full-size reconstruction of the giant 27ft long ‘Denman horn’, the centrepiece of a new art installation by Aleksander Kolkowski.

A popular highlight of the Museum’s daily tours in the 1930s, this colossal horn has been painstakingly rebuilt by the Museum’s Workshops team. You can now witness this forgotten instrument by exploring and celebrating the artefact and its history through newly created sounds, music and the spoken word.

Alongside the installation we have a wide-ranging programme of events and audio demonstrations, featuring live broadcasts, sound art and archive radio footage from contributors including the BBC History, Resonance 104.4FM, BBC Radio 3, Archive of the Now, London College of Communication, Royal College of Music, and Royal College of Art.


Commissioned: Science Museum

audialsense would like to extend our thanks to Aleksander Kolkowski for his help and support in this installation.

Photography by Asako Bavister