By the Sound of Things \\ Kate Davies
By the Sound of Things was an immersive audiovisual experience onboard the unique steam-powered, Mersey-built boat, the Daniel Adamson (The Danny).
From the deck of one of the last surviving Manchester Ship Canal tugs, the audience was invited to feel the vast echoes and epic scale of the modern shipping industry and consider the extent and impact of our insatiable consumerism on local and global environments.
Submerged beneath the waterline, mariners rest below deck between watches – their cradle song is the aching sounds of a ship against water. A nautical soundtrack transports wayfarers to a vast and veiled world – a subaquatic acoustical mirage. Featuring deep sea hydrophone recordings depicting the marine ecosystem disrupted by man-made ship noise, this hypnotic binaural sound work told the story of the journey of a container as it travels from the surface to the bottom of the ocean.
An accompanying film focused on the world above water presents a collision of the extraordinary and the banal that defines the image of global sea trade – an absurd narrative of ordinary things. Containers loaded and unloaded, the rhythmic motions of cranes performing an industrial-scale ballet, the transporting vessels of the global shipping industry forge sonic trails across oceans to bring us our things; the necessary and frivolous, the coveted and the disposable.
By the Sound of Things by Kate Davies is commissioned and produced by Abandon Normal Devices. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England with further support from The Daniel Adamson Preservation Society, Portico: Portsmouth’s Cargo Terminal, and Maritime Digital Hub.
Sound Design: Chris Timpson of Aurelia Soundworks. Voice: Jess Gunning. Producer: Tricia Coleman. Special thanks to Professor Steve Simpson, University of Exeter, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, and Marta Bolgan PhD.