Art That Makes A Lot Of Noise At Salford's Chapman Gallery

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 09 September 2008
A photograph of a sausage on some electronic equipment

© Christopher Gladwin

Exhibition preview – uncovering our ears and opening our minds we preview Para-Musical Sound Studies For Video at University of Salford’s Chapman Gallery, on from September 15 to September 23 2008.

The sound of silence could not be further from what Christopher Gladwin seeks to capture in what he calls ‘para-musical experiences’.

And although he admits that the products of his work may only be liked “by those with masochistic listening tastes”, this has not stopped him and the University of Salford putting on a show to reveal his experiments at the Chapman Gallery.

Part of a programme showcasing the work of people on the university's MA course in Contemporary Fine Art, the exhibition, which opens on September 15 and plays on until September 23, will let his creations loose on audiences who may or may not appreciate what he seeks to achieve.

Gladwin already has a back catalogue of musical ventures. Known on the underground avant-garde music and art scene in his home city of Hull, he has recorded and worked under a range of aliases including the Wyrding Module and Dr Derek F. Livet Er Smerte. He also set up Hull's one and only electro-psych-folk night – Auto.Barn.

A photograph of someone twisting celery and recording the sound

Making celery squeak or scream?
© Christopher Gladwin

Bravely, he is now unleashing his work on the world under his real name and taking forward his early blend of sonic research into a new realm with video and audio installations. He hopes these will demonstrate to others what intrigues him about noise and what he loves about sound.

Explaining his methods and mediums, Gladwin said: “I use the term ‘para-musical’ to describe these experiments as it seems that the sounds can no longer exist as just ‘noise’ once re-contextualised by art. They have become something else; a kind of music or something outside of it.”

To make these sounds that hang in a limbo world between noise and music, he has been experimenting by using crude materials and simple actions, deliberately ‘reverse engineering’ the language of music. Who needs a cello when you can squash a balloon or squeeze a sausage and record the outcome?

By all reports, the results of this methodology and the pallet of sounds he generates are varied, even hideous, then strangely subtle, and occasionally, just plain absurd.

A photograph of some tins with candles heating them underneath and pegs sealing their coverings

Steammachines. © Christopher Gladwin

To add to the gallery programme, Gladwin and a group of other artists will be giving a special ‘para-musical’ performance at Islington Mill in Salford from 8.00 pm on September 20. Prior to this, the Chapman Gallery will be open for early evening viewing and listening to the gallery pieces.

When he is not devising sound and audio experiments and installations, Christopher enjoys recording the screams of frogs and participating in endurance gig playing – he once performed 340 songs in one set.

The gallery is open between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm each day except Monday September 22 when it will close at 1.00 pm. Admission is free. Ear plugs not supplied!

The evening viewing/listening event at the Chapman Gallery on September 20 is between 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm.

Visit for more details.

For information about the performance at Islington Mill, visit

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