Apr 15, 2010

Urban Samples

written by greyworld

Urban Samples is an installation that takes fragments of from the urban environment. When touched or examined the elements create music, evocative of their original location.

Ten plinths are arranged around an open space at the centre. Each plinth has a wooden frame on top of it, enclosing a square of urban material: a slab of concrete, gravel, recycled plastic, stainless steel, brick, water, glass, wire mesh and stone. Each element is labeled, describing the material and its provenance: “Concrete, 30cms x 30cms, Dublin High Street.”

It is as if we had wandered around a city, cutting sections from the urban environment and brought these fragments inside for exhibition.

When touched or examined, the elements create music with the sound emanating from within the plinth itself. Each element creates a part of the sound environment and every experience is unique, as our generative programme creates new compositions based on location, pressure and duration.

The sound environment that is generated has many facets. Some elements involved very contemporary sound patterns, taken from dance music. Others created vocal parts, snatched from local conversation. As people explore and play them they create the whole: a sonic representation of Dublin, created by the materials of its making, formed into a contemporary, ever changing urban sound environment.


  • Pittsburgh Centre for the Arts, USA, 1999
  • Akademie der Kunste, Germany, 1999
  • Guinness Store House, Dublin, 2000
  • V&A Museum, London, 2003