An Acoustic Journey Through Britain’s History
Bloomberg SPACE – London 9 Feb 2023 – 15 Jul 2023
Oliver Beer’s latest installation, Albion Waves, offers a unique and immersive exploration of Britain’s material history and its ever-evolving position across the globe. The innovative installation draws inspiration from the 14,000 Roman artifacts discovered at the Bloomberg site during the 2012-2014 archaeological excavations.
Albion Waves consists of 28 historic British vessels suspended from the ceiling, creating a constellation of objects that span over 2,000 years of British history. Each vessel has a microphone inside, which amplifies the object’s “voice” when triggered by visitors’ movement. As visitors move through the space, their interaction with the work creates a gentle orchestral song, allowing the viewer to literally “play” the installation.
Beer complements the sound installation with dynamic new ‘Resonance Paintings,’ which use the vessels’ sounds to move finely ground pigment into beautiful geometric patterns on canvas. Beer explains that “just like a seashell makes a sound, every vessel that’s ever been made in the history of object making is also constantly, quietly resonating at its own musical note: physical form and musical harmony are inseparable.”
Albion Waves is an evolution of Beer’s landmark solo exhibition in 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The installation builds upon his exploration of natural acoustic phenomena, where every empty vessel possesses a natural resonance determined by its specific volume and geometry.
Beer’s unique ability to uncover hidden music and stories has led to his work being exhibited at prestigious institutions such as the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Sydney Opera House, and most recently, the 59th Venice Biennale. In Albion Waves, he bathes the space in blue light, unifying the elements of sound, light, and color to create an immersive experience that allows visitors to connect with the evolution of British culture and object making across the centuries.
The installation is on display at London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE from February 9th to July 15th, 2023. London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE, located on the site of Bloomberg’s European headquarters, offers visitors an immersive experience of the ancient Temple of Mithras and a chance to see a collection of Roman artifacts found during the building excavations. The ground floor gallery showcases contemporary art, aiming to present engaging and thoughtful works while bringing fresh perspectives to the site’s multi-layered history.
Oliver Beer, a multidisciplinary artist trained in musical composition, visual arts, and cinematic theory, often explores the intersection of music and visual arts through his live performances, films, installations, and sculptures. His work seeks to reveal the hidden acoustic properties of vessels, bodies, and architectural environments while exploring the unifying potential of music and art that resonates across history, generations, and cultures.
Albion Waves is not only a captivating installation but also a testament to Beer’s innovative approach to art-making. By combining sound, light, and color, he creates a multisensory experience that invites visitors to engage with the rich history of Britain through its material culture. As visitors traverse through the installation, they become an integral part of a living, breathing portrait of Britain’s past 2,000 years, celebrating the resilience and evolution of its cultural identity.
Website: Bloomberg Space
Oliver Beer, Albion Waves, 2023. Photo by Marcus Leith