Chris Watson to open Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Sound Map at Millennium Gallery

By Culture24 Reporter | 20 August 2013

Regarded as arguably the country’s most knowledgeable sound recordist, Chris Watson’s tapes of birdsong and Weddell seals beneath the Arctic Sea have mesmerised BAFTA judging panels and listeners. For his latest quest, the Cabaret Voltaire co-founder is going back to his home city.

A photo of a man standing in a desert carrying sound recording equipment
© Museums Sheffield
Sheffield offers a fitting setting for Watson’s specialism. The edge of the Peak District, where its boundaries lie, holds its own rhythms and soundscapes. They serve to frame his “sound map”, Inside the Circle of Fire, which will be revealed for the first time at the more urban site of the Millennium Gallery next month.

Ambisonic technology and spatial audio are a couple of the additions to the space. But the public have informed the work as much as computer equipment, with South Yorkshire residents contributing the noises – “sonic motifs”, according to Watson – which they feel are synonymous with their home.

“The response from the public has been fantastic,” says Watson, whose year-long research has channelled the disparate resonances of moorlands, falcons, football fans, furnaces and industry.

“It’s been great to hear Sheffield sounds that mean so much to other people and be able to collage them into the finished work.

“It’s been wonderful rediscovering the signature sounds and rhythms of my city.”

  • Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sheffield Sound Map by Chris Watson opens at the Millennium Gallery on September 12 2013.

More pictures:

A photo of a man recording the sound of crocodiles from a river bank
Watson meeting a few crocodiles© Chris Watson
A photo of a man standing outside a large city art gallery
The Millennium Gallery will welcome ambisonics© Museums Sheffield
A photo of a man operating sound recording equipment inside a darkened tunnel
Recording at the Sheffield Megatron underground waterway© Museums Sheffield
A photo of a man leading a walk through a wood
A dawn chorus recording trip on Blackamoor, Sheffield© Museums Sheffield
A photo of a man operating sound recording equipment in a leafy woodland
Recording in the General Cemetery, Sheffield© Museums Sheffield
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