Musician turned “sonic artist” Bobby Bird is using the sounds of James Watt’s steam engines to create “immersive” surround sound performances.
His composition, “Watt’s Orbit”, was first performed in 2016. He’s now updating the work for 2019, the 200th anniversary of Watt’s death.
Previous performances have earned rave reviews. One resident said: “I felt as though I was inside the engine! The sound circling me. The amazing acoustics … made it a truly wonderful immersive experience.”
Bird will be in residence at Vivid Projects in Birmingham from June 27-July 8. Music students and other interested parties will be able to hear the work in progress and discuss the project with the artist by prior arrangement.
He’ll also be delivering a full concert of “Watt’s Orbit” on Saturday, September 21, at the city’s St. Paul’s Church.
Sound artist bobby bird #higherintelligenceagency recording the #smethwickengine @thinktank yesterday, for #wattsorbit performance at St Paul’s Church in the Jewellery quarter 21/09/2019 as a part of @watt2019 https://t.co/jrh5dYntEc photo @magneticmirror pic.twitter.com/kbpqNctI0r
— AVA (@avacurate) March 14, 2019
Bird grew up in Handsworth, the suburb of the city that became the final resting place for James Watt. His website says: “He first saw a Boulton and Watt engine at the Museum of Science and Industry on Newhall Street, where he often found it more interesting to spend his time than attending school.”
Summary: Sonic artist Bobby Bird will give an immersive live surround sound performance of his composition “Watt’s Orbit”, created from the sounds and rhythms of James Watt’s steam-driven beam engines, recorded at Papplewick Pumping Station, Crofton Beam Engines, The London Museum of Steam and Water, and Thinktank Birmingham.
Date: Saturday, September 21, 2019
Times: Doors open at 7.30 p.m.
Location: St Paul’s Church, St Paul’s Square, Jewellery Quarter,Birmingham B3 1QZ
Admission: Tickets cost £12, plus an 80p handling charge. Book online here
Access to venue: Visit the Church website – or contact the parish administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any additional relevant information: Visit the Watt’s Orbit website for full details.