Caroline Devine

Caroline Devine creates large-scale sound installations exploring the unheard, hidden voices and imperceptible sounds of nature, the city, and beyond. After recent compositions based on the oscillations of stars and planets, Devine now focuses closer to home on the voices, sounds and signals of Milton Keynes.

Caroline has twice been shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award for 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun (2012) and On Air (2013). In 2014, she was Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham, where she is now Creative Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies. Space Ham (2013) and
Station X (2012) have featured on BBC Radio 3 and 4 respectively, and other recent commissions include Resonant Space (Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia, 2017), Poetics of (Outer) Space (Ikon Gallery, 2015), and Oscillate (ICA/SOUNDWORKS, 2012).

For City of Things, Caroline spent the last year researching archives, conducting interviews, attending rehearsals, developing performances, writing arrangements, and making recordings, big and small, at scores of different sites around the city. She then set about weaving this wealth of raw material into the fabric of her own multi-channel compositions, which are themselves site-specific responses to the various locations she encountered.

Some sounds emerged ‘by chance’, fully formed, like the brief fragment of one member of a steel band playing ‘Happy Birthday’ to an anonymous lady (the city, perhaps?) at a local multicultural arts festival. Other sounds emerged from different forms of planned collaboration with local individuals and choirs, or recordings that simply listened in on what the wildlife, the weather, or the traffic had to say, the rhythm of the wind, or the chatter of machines.

The act of listening was central to this project, and the resultant installation for City of Things takes the Milton Keynes that is familiar to our eyes and opens it up to our ears, providing playful, unexpected encounters with the histories, the people, the secret sounds, and the poetics of the city.