SMFA’s Tim Meacham’s work It was dust at Gulbenkian December 11th

Photo by Tim Meacham


Tim Meacham, Lecturer in Fine Art and Partner College Liaison Officer in the School of Music and Fine Art, has his sound and light installation “It Was Dust” on the main stage of the Gulbenkian theatre, Canterbury on 11th December.

Tim works across media to explore space within the triangulated world of experience between seeing, hearing and touching. He explains, “It was dust explores the huge explosions and resulting shock waves that occurred at Uplees near Faversham in Kent in April 1916. The resulting work is an impression in real time, of what would have been felt and heard in the town on Sunday the 2nd April 1916 from 1.30 until around 2.30 pm. The work examines the notion of trauma remaining embedded in the landscape after violent events have occurred and the possibility of an “acoustic memory” allowing one to “hear the past” in the present through the sounds of surviving material and artefacts. 

The sound is constructed from field recordings gathered in the present at the Uplees site, both natural; grass, trees etc. and human through touching or “playing” the remains of surfaces and structures. These collected sound fragments were then digitally layered and mixed to reconstruct the sound of the 1916 explosions based on contemporary accounts including the reported shock wave and deep echoing rumble which followed the initial blasts, which were felt as far away as Norwich.  The movement of air (shock wave) created by large explosions and the point at which distant sound vibration, when no longer audible becomes felt rather than heard and its manifestation in physical form is referenced through a series of dust cascades electronically triggered as the sound of the blasts dips below human hearing.”

Liz Moran, the University’s Director of Arts and Culture said, “Gulbenkian is pleased to support Tim Meacham’s highly innovative and inspirational installation It was Dust, reflecting our commitment to working with original and ground breaking artists.”

Opening and viewing times will be on the SMFA Events page.


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