Instruments of Industry, 2016

– 8 channel audio installation, blueprints (score) drawings, archival material and hand tool collection.

A New Opportunties Award Comission, selected by New Expressions 3 – Touchstones Art Gallery, Rochdale. 25th March – 11th June 2016.

Instruments of Industry approaches the tool as an extension of ourselves; our contact, relationship to and being in the world. It draws on the connection between the Museum’s collection of trade tools and their resting place, Thomas Robinson and Son’s, a former engineering works which now houses the archive. These prehensile tools have been elevated to museum objects and represent our pre-industrial relationship to work. Disembodied from the hands and minds that worked them, they are no longer ‘present at hand’ and remain at a distance, carefully preserved as an object of esthetic and historic value.

The tools on the shelves hold a latent memory of an action, the resonating sounds created in the molding, measuring, bending and shaping of process and a material. Using sounds captured from ‘ringing’ the tools, the work is composed as a series of movements and explores resonance as a way of touching and conversing. From the working hand to the disembodied, from the real to the imagined, to the coming present. Instruments of Industry was created over a 12 month residency in Touchstones Museums’ archive and  funded through a New Opportunities Award by New Expressions 3, in partnership with Visual Arts South West, Arts Council England and Touchstones Rochdale.

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I [re-sounding Unit 6, Row G in 8 movements] 8 channel audio piece, 2016

Using over 500 individual sounds and frequencies captured from ‘ringing’ the Museums collection of hand tools, the audio installation is composed as a series of eight movements which directly relate to the placement of the tools upon the shelves in the archive. The piece is a re-sounding of the tools, a transmission which explores resonance as a way of touching and conversing. Each of the 8 movements play at one time, generating, shifting placement and position during the course of the exhibition

II [score for Unit 6, Row G in 8 movements] Blueprints, 2016

The blueprints are direct copy of the original working score use to develop the sound installation. The work is composed as a direct re-sounding of the placement of the tools within the archive. Each page documents a shelf as you are looking down upon its contents and also forms a timeframe within the score, the eight rows forming the eight movements within the composition. The spaces between the blueprints represent both actual physical and audible silence in the archive.

III [frequencies and notation] Metalpoint and pen on paper, 2016

IV The drawing places the fundamental frequencies captured from the ‘ringing’ of each tool within 8 octaves of the musical scale.

V [Working drawings] metalpoint and gouache on paper, 2016

Archive material: Touchstones Museums’ collection of Historic hand tools; Tool manuals from Thomas Robinson and Son’s Railway works.

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Corridor 8 – ‘A Chorus of Objects’ – by Laura Mansfield
Artist Newsletter Reviews, ‘Instruments of Industry’ – Interview by Jack Welsh
Rochdale Observer – Article by Steve Cooke, All Across the Arts









The New Opportunities Award was an award developed in 2014 by New Expressions and Contemporary Visual Arts Network, working in partnership with Visual Arts South West.The New Opportunities Award (NOA) aims to create innovative partnerships for organisations in the heritage sector as well as new ways of working for artists. Six regional museums based in the South West, North and Midlands have been selected through open competition to receive a special award that will enable them to collaborate with and commission small scale, experimental or innovative, artist-led museum interventions. This Exhibition has been funded by New Expressions.