Friday, 3 June 2016

More twangling instruments: Hannah Thompson's performance at Senate House Library

Whispers, waspish Vespas, Shakespeare mash-ups, blackbirds, squelches, beats, bangs, clangs, library clamour: Hannah Thompson's improvisatory soundscape of a building in flux bounces around the Dr Seng Tee Lee Centre in Senate House Library.

Hannah, the Leverhulme-funded sound artist in residence, is playing with the proportion and perspective of noise. Textures are rhythmic and rich.

Quite a lot of the sound looks like the painting with us in the room, Yellow Grid and Blue by John Edwards, 1969.

We're invited to move around to sample different sonic flavours but I'm trying to control a concertina sketchbook, the kind which spills its guts on the floor, so I stay put.

The event develops at the darkened Horse Hospital in a cobbled mews nearby, where Hannah and other musicians make electronic variations on her Senate House themes.

But after The Incident With The Deer Rifle at Bisley (no furry animals were present, and yes I was wearing ear defenders) I avoid loud noise, so I disappear during the first number. Which is a shame.  Hannah can tell you what I missed.

Hannah has open studio on Wednesdays on the fourth floor of Senate House (please check in advance). Her sound art installation goes on show in November as part of the 2016 Being Human festival. For details, please see Senate House Library and School of Advanced Study websites.


I have an exhibition of drawings in Senate House (free and open to the public in the second floor foyer) until 30 July, as part of the Institute of Legal Studies' public engagement programme which explores and promotes the humanity of law. 

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