The UK’s largest free festival of sound art and experimental music
In 2009 Expo landed in Leeds to take over venues and public spaces across the city, showcasing leading artists and fresh newcomers in sound based art and performance. Expo Leeds was an extended weekend of people enjoying, creating, playing, sharing, experiencing, discovering and listening to sonic art.
Expo Leeds unveiled major new commissions including:
Nick Rothwell & Lewis Sykes's PEAL: A Virtual Bell Tower; an interactive multimedia commission for the Arena space at the Grade II listed Leeds City Museum, re-opened in 2008. Taking bell sounds from Leeds churches, PEAL invites audiences to play with the traditions of change ringing.
A pioneer of the sound art genre, German-artist Christina Kubisch produced a new installation at The Light, Leeds, inviting passers by to pick up headphones and take an ‘electrical walk’ through the shopping centre, revealing a soundscape not audible to the naked ear.
Winner of the 2008 Northern Art Prize, UK sound and video artist Paul Rooney created Thin Air - exploring the decommissioned Leeds Metropolitan University’s H Building, and the lost stories and disembodied voices of its inhabitants, both fictional and real.
Digital artist Tom Betts (aka Nullpointer) created an interactive sound piece for the BBC Big Screen which sits in one of Leeds busiest areas, Millennium Square - right in the heart of the Cultural Quarter, providing a very public centre piece to the weekend festival.
Musician and artist Mira Calix, who’s recent work in Leeds has included collaborations with United Visual Artists and Opera North, is working alongside artists Adrian Sinclair, Kypros Kyprianou & Glenn Boulter, with local young people to present experimental sound works at Leeds City Museum, that explore the collections and museum interior spaces.
A performance at the Howard Assembly Room highlighted the work of Peter Cusack, Chris Watson (long-time BBC broadcaster of the natural environment), Yannick Dauby and Lee Patterson. Live performances featured local and national sonic art and noise music.
Over 4 days, installations, screenings and live performances took place in a wide array of unusual venues and public spaces. Chosen from an unprecedented 300 entries in response to the open call for artists’ work, Expo Leeds represents the cutting edge of sound art, presented for specialist and non-specialist audiences.
The programme also turnes its gaze towards the city and its future in a special workshop for practicing urban design professionals, run in partnership with RIBA Yorkshire and the Positive Soundscaping research programme.