Bill Fontana: River Sounding

Bill Fontans: River Sounding. Photo by Bill Fontana
Thursday 15 April - Monday 31 May 2010
Somerset House, London

A Journey Through the Hidden Sound Worlds of the River Thames

Somerset House was built with direct access onto the Thames - the home of Admiral Nelson’s Navy Office with boats entering through the building’s great arch on the river. Artist Bill Fontana returns the river to the building with River Sounding, an immersive sound installation that creates an acoustic journey through little-known subterranean spaces of Somerset House, exploring the hidden stories and sound-worlds of the river.

Over several months, Fontana collected hundreds of hours of audio and video from above and below the surface of the Thames, from Richmond to remote locations in the Estuary, to reveal the hidden stories and sound-worlds of the river in a brand new public art work.

Images and sounds installed in the Lightwells and Dead House - spaces far below the courtyard, usually closed to the public - create an intimate, acoustic journey and reinstate the forgotten shared history of Somerset House and the Thames.

Bill Fontana, one of the world’s leading sound artists, has installed public art works at iconic locations in many of the world’s great cities, including London’s Millennium Bridge and Big Ben, San Francisco’s Golden Gate and Paris’s Arc de Triomphe.

River Sounding was accompanied by a series of talks and screenings by writers and artists including Richard Wilson and Iain Sinclair. Click here for more details...

In this project

Co-commissioned & Co-produced by

Somerset House
Sound and Music


 River Sounding Book

Bill Fontana: River Sounding
56pp, 210mm x 275mm
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