Archive for 2010

william lamson’s “automatic (kite drawing)” uses wind currents to power three rudimentary drawing machines

sea organs, the tidal answer to the aeolian harp:

from vocal memnon to the stereophonic garden: a short history of sound and technology in landscape design

… licht talks about the piece here:

alan licht’s “new york minute” is a montage of excerpts from NYC weather reports over january 2001:

a trove of masterpieces from wikimedia’s Weather In Art category:

The Freesound Project


We’re big fans of the Freesound Project here at Variable 4. The project is run by the Music Technology Group of Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.

We’ve decided to share our current archive of field recordings that we created for the Dungeness installation on May 22nd 2010.

You can download and listen to the field recordings under Creative Commons license here.

We’ll be updating this page with more recordings as the research period for our next installation gets underway. More news about that coming shortly!

we’re also seeking ideas for future locations to host the piece. know somewhere suitably wild/weird/wonderful? must have good weather.

heading over to speak to the great folks at @PRSFoundation about the past, present and future of variable 4…

Field recordings from Dungeness

A set of field recordings, made in and around Dungeness by Giles Stogdon Рpart of our research for the Variable 4 installation on Dungeness beach, May 2010.

[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=000000&auto_play=false&hide_related=true&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

Images of Dungeness : Installation Landscapes

A selection of our favourite landscape photographs taken during the Dungeness installation.


Photo : Havva Basto

Dungeness Shore - Andreas Tovan

Photo : Andreas Tovan


Photo : Louis Mustill


Photo : Andreas Tovan

a great short docu-film of the Variable 4 installation in Dungeness courtesy of Rich Millington –

Documentary Film

A lovely short film of the May installation of Variable 4 in Dungeness made by Rich Millington, who travelled up by coach to experience the event.

thanks to all who came down on saturday, we had a whale of a time. missing dungeness already.

Thank you

Well, Variable 4 is over. With a neverending stream of tasks to attend to over the weekend, we sadly didn’t find the time to broadcast any live updates, but will be catching up with a series of wrapup blog posts.

After so many months of work, it was truly wonderful to finally be able to watch the piece in action as envisaged. The weather was beautiful — if consistent! — and it was great to have the opportunity to chat about the work with our varied stream of visitors. Thanks to all those who came down, and especially to the countless people who provided the project with their time and support.

An excellent last-minute addition was an unexpected visit from ITV Meridian’s weather team, who came down to Variable 4 to broadcast an on-site weather report on Friday night. You can see the excerpt on our Vimeo profile.

We’ve also been working with a very talented radio producer to create a short documentary feature, forthcoming on Resonance FM. Watch this space for details — plus several backlogged blog posts that we’ve not found the time to yet publish.

Weather forecast

An idyllic afternoon, data testing and tuning the sound spatialisation. The weather forecast for Saturday suggests that the weekend will be similarly sunny. It’s perhaps unusual for the organisers of an outdoor event to be hoping for changeable weather!


RT @DungenessRNLI Dungeness RNLI Lifeboat Station in Kent, UK is now on Twitter, latest shouts and other information will be posted here.

just had a charming message from the estate of derek jarman expressing their well wishes for the piece. oh, dungeness!

coach tickets now all sold out – many thanks to all who’ve booked. we’ll shortly be emailing precise details of the departure location…

@keithjohnson51 looking forward to being there! glad to catch part of last weekend’s exercise too. see you on saturday…

RNLI Dungeness

With its exposed location and amplified speakers, Variable 4 is reliant on having a nearby source of power and shelter. We’re fortunate enough to have both of these things provided for us by RNLI Dungeness, who have been endlessly generous with their time and resources in the development of the project. It’s no exaggeration to say that the installation would not be possible without them in anything like its current form.

The station guards the busy Dover Strait between Folkestone and Rye Bay, in the latest of many incarnations since its inception in 1826. Founded just 2 years after the formation of the RNLI itself, the station’s history is documented in an e-book available on their website: The History of the Dungeness Lifeboats.

Anybody joining us at the weekend will undoubtedly meet several of the crew; they will also be on hand with tea and coffee, providing another vital public service!

for those who have not yet booked: just a handful of coach tickets remaining!

& surround audio on a beach on a starry night = mesmerising.

dry run successful, after many tribulations. and thankfully literally dry. many thanks to all who helped!

…and speaker cable. 1km of speaker cable – which, in total, weighs marginally more than me.