By kind permission of Electric Egg

Inverse Archaeology: Sound Wall (2005)

Commissioned by The City of Lincoln Council, Inverse Archaeology is an audio work which is incorporated into the fabric of the orientation hall of The Collection Museum of Art and Archaeology, Lincoln.

The sound installation broadcasts a multitude of pre-recorded speeches, describing aspects of Lincolnshire’s history. These stories are played through 22 flat panel speakers, concealed in apertures in the wall. The equipment was designed and installed by Cantoris Sound, with computer programming by Danny de Green. Sound editing and sound manipulation is by Adinda van ‘t Klooster.

When the new archaeology museum in Lincoln was designed, the incorporation of artwork into the fabric of the building was considered from the outset. Adinda van ‘t Klooster was chosen to make an audio piece for the orientation hall. The resulting sound installation closely reflects the nature of archaeology with its many layers of time and strata that gradually become uncovered and reformed.

After an initial period of research into the area of Lincolnshire, the artist chose 15 stories and texts related to the areas history in different ways and invited local people to come and read them out. Some of the stories are local legends or myths related to Lincolnshire or stories about legendary figures from the earliest history of Britain, like King Arthur and Beowulf. Other sources are texts or poems by people who were born in Lincoln, like Isaac Newton and Alfred Lord Tennyson of whom an original wax recording was included.

This varied mixture of recordings is brought together by the way the artist has later affected them. First she placed them on a timeline along the length of the wall. Then, the artist paired each story or text with an archaeological dating graph and used the graph to affect the recording over and over again, in the end leaving nothing but abstract rhythm and noise. Once fully disintegrated, the sound slowly repairs itself, eventually morphing back into the initial clean recording. At no point during the day is the installation the same and over 100 hours of sound footage were created for it.