full circle

Posted in CCCP, pinesCalyx on May 12, 2008 by robert jarvis

I have now completed both sound installations for this project.

For the Pines Calyx location I have used a combination of the flints that I have sourced from the Pines Gardens as well as recordings from Ian Cross’s experiments recreating flint instruments that could possibly have been used in the Upper Palaeolithic age.  The resulting composition is a repeating sound score that can be listened to in the circular white building pictured in one of the previous posts.

As a reference to time passing, the music’s notes beat on the second every second, giving way to a hypnotic composition that hints at the stones’ physical properties and serves as a reminder to their role as foundational tools in creating the world as we know it today.

In the Charlton Centre Car Park I have installed a recording that I have made of a male nightingale.  This bird is an endangered species, at least in the UK, that visits this time of year.  On arrival, the bird sings during the night in order to attract a mate.

In a similar manner, my installed birdsong also calls out: not only to the wildlife but to other users of the Car Park, encouraging questions relating to its identity as well as its relationship to the space.  The nightingale’s song has components that remind me of the sound of the car engine, and this also helps connect the bird to this particular location.

Targetfollow (the owners of the Car Park) have really taken to this particular installation and are enquiring about the possibility of installing birdsong in its other car parks nationwide!



Posted in CCCP on May 7, 2008 by robert jarvis










Perhaps because of the minimal design of the Car Park, the ‘intrusion’ of wildlife is more noticeable than at the Pines Gardens. A case in point is the pigeons that visit the Car Park throughout the day (and I use the word ‘intrusion’ because there is the feeling that they don’t belong there).

Although these birds aren’t so vocal, they make their presence known by their clumsy landings on the corrugated plastic roof as well as their low flight-paths through the car park itself. These interventions provide acoustic interest to an otherwise lo-fi environment.

It interests me how, on one hand, the physical properties of a space shape how that location is read, and, on the other, how the introduction of other sounds alter one’s perspective of that environment. From my point-of-view as a sound artist I am especially interested in how changing the acoustic nature of a space can affect how people think about where they are.

Having worked initially with the car park to understand its acoustic and aural architecture, I am now interested to see if this can be extended to bring new understandings to this location.

rock music

Posted in pinesCalyx on May 3, 2008 by robert jarvis












In my research related to my sound installation for Pines Calyx and the many flint rocks that I have found there, I have come across the work of Ian Cross, a Reader in Music & Science and a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, who has proposed that flint tools could have also been used for musical production as far back as The Upper Palaeolithic age.

It is quite possible that the flints used were probably thinnish blade-like stones, which when struck made a sort of xylophone or chime bar sound. Different lengths and thicknesses would have produced different pitches and tones with the result that a clear pitched sound could be heard.

This hypothesis that flint could have been used as a medium for musical expression seems like a good starting point for the creation of my piece. For this reason therefore I have decided on a circular stone built white building as the location in the garden for whatever it is that I create.  It seems an ideal space for some rock music!

intention by design

Posted in CCCP, pinesCalyx on May 2, 2008 by robert jarvis

I find it interesting how different ways of thinking lead to different results. Although the Pines Calyx Garden and the Charlton Centre Car Park both serve functions – they are both income generating businesses, for one; however, they appear to have been designed from contrasting points of view.

Contrasted with the Car Park’s bare yet functional construction, Pines Calyx comes across as an oasis of calm and beauty; however, it is just as much designed, if not more so. The difference is that Pines Calyx appears to be created with the well-being of the visitor in mind.

I spoke to a visitor who commented about the Garden that she “loved this place”. When I asked, “Why?” her reply was that it was so calm and relaxing. I wonder how she might have described the Car Park? It’s certainly calm in the sense that nothing much happens, but it’s not a place to “relax” in.

metal speaks

Posted in CCCP on April 30, 2008 by robert jarvis

Within the Car Park are a host of potential sounds, each one related to the building’s structure. Fixed rails, rectangular columns, free-standing pipes and peculiar wall fixings all contribute to an overall sonic identity.

The sounds not only tell the story of the building’s degradation but also of its construct. Their raw, untuned qualities are also reminiscent of other sounds and therefore have the potential to connect the listener to more personal memories of places and emotions.

The Car Park is not an instrument though, and the sounds that it offers are, for the most, to me musically uninteresting. It appears that the space is as bleak as it looks as it sounds.

under lock and key

Posted in pinesCalyx on April 24, 2008 by robert jarvis

The Pines Calyx garden and the Charlton Centre car park have one thing in common in that they are both surrounded by metal.  In the case of the car park, this is in the form of the red metal rails and pillars; and for the garden it is in the form of a fence that surrounds the Pines Calyx grounds.  Like the car park the garden is only open at certain times, and supposedly only open to paying visitors.

The garden grounds have some gateways around the perimeter that are permanently locked and these, of course, shut the garden off to local residents and passing walkers-by through their implied “You Are Not Welcome Here” message.

For the Paradise Revealed show, we hope that it may be possible to persuade the garden to open these gates as a welcome to inquisitive visitors.  If we succeed, it will be interesting to see whether the gates remain open or whether the garden returns to its enclosed status.

re-animation of space

Posted in CCCP on April 14, 2008 by robert jarvis

The other site for his project is the top two floors of the Charlton Shopping Centre multi-storey car park, in the centre of Dover.  Predictably, this is very different from the manicured gardens of Pines Calyx: where as the garden gives the illusion of life and growth, the car park is at best like a state of limbo, and not such a pleasant place to be in.

I have been using the flint rocks gathered from Pines Calyx to discover what sounds the Car Park, has to offer.  I am interested in a re-animation of this this space as a sound source, or even as a musical instrument.

a time for all seasons

Posted in pinesCalyx on April 10, 2008 by robert jarvis

Around the Pines Calyx garden are numerous flint rocks, some of which seem to hint at a possible previous use as stone age tools.  In Neolithic times, flint was an extremely useful material as it was able to be fashioned into a variety of tools, such as knives, axes and hammers.  Within the garden’s seasonality that affects the planting and the caring of the different plants, these rocks point to a much longer division of time, that in fact even predates the agricultural age.

With the gardener’s permission I have take some of these rocks away and cleaned them up for use in the sound installation I create for the garden. My plan is to use them as musical tools, enabling the playing of the sounds of my resulting composition.