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Contemplating Community

United Kingdom Architecture News - Jul 23, 2014 - 12:11   3333 views

Part of InTRANSIT Festival

Kensington Central Library

Friday 18 to Sunday 27 July 2014


Read. Speak.  Listen. Share.

Contemplating Community – an interactive installation that collects thoughts, stories and ideas, collating them into a living archive of paper and sound.

As a part of the ten day InTRANSIT Festival, hosted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Contemplating Community is an interactive installation that responds to the theme of ‘dwelling in unity’ and records the voices, thoughts, stories, and ideas of the people who enter it. A public space where the community can encounter itself.

At the heart of the Grade II listed Kensington Central Library, Contemplating Community captures the plurality of voices that make up a community and transforms them into an audible tapestry for the visitor to experience.

Built out of fabric, wood, and recycled newspaper donated by the Guardian, the installation defines two distinct spaces - internal and external - connected through sound recordings.

In the tradition of Mass Observation and the work of Humphrey Jennings, Charles Madge and BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Listening Project’, the installation collects the voices of a community and immediately offers them back, allowing for contemplation. On entering the space constructed out of yesterday’s news, visitors are encouraged to speak unprompted, or respond to a question. Their speech is recorded and processed by open source software to mix and meld with the other recorded contributions.

 Headphones placed on the outside of the structure play back the composition to the community. Sound designers for the installation have created a program that enables listeners to hear a number of contributions concurrently, yet allowing one clear voice to take precedence at a time.

Archivate, the team behind Contemplating Community, is a collective of architectural designers, musicians and film-makers who are interested in community engagement.

Archivate has set out the following aims for the project:

“We hope that Contemplating Community will create an open platform where thoughts can be considered and shared, with the potential to spark a collective dialogue.

“This project seeks to provide a public space to enable the community to encounter itself.”

As ideas are added to the Contemplating Community project, the collection of thoughts, pictures, stories and voices will build, and the structure will become richer to form a living archive of paper and sound.


Frame:12mm Plywood frame

Paper:Newsprint donated by the Guardian

Size:3.5metres high (approx.) x 400mm deep, 2.4metre external diameter

Fabricators:Blackfriars Scenery Ltd

Contemplating Community is at Kensington Library, Phillimore Walk, London, W8 7RX, as part of InTRANSIT Festival. Friday 18 – Sunday 27 July 2014.


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