Feb 02, 2016
Artists Turn Swimming Pool Into Giant Musical Instrument

Ever wanted to turn your pool into a giant musical instrument? No? Well that’s exactly what Florence To and Alex Menzies–a pair of artists who work under the moniker of CØV to make site-specific installations–have done with Glasgow’s Govanhill Baths.

Govanhill Baths, originally designed by architect AB Macdonald, closed its doors in 2001 after 95 years of use, but was reopened as a community centre in 2013. A local trust has been working to restore the space and reopen the pools for public use, and after being awarded a £1.2 million grant in 2015 only needs raise £200,000 to finish the revival.

The duo used three bar chimes, aluminium pipes, a bronze metal sheet, and violin bows to create the large piece.

“The acoustics in the swimming pool can be quite challenging with the strong resonance,” To told The Spaces. “We wanted to create something that was initiated first from the space rather than to create an idea, then reconstruct it in the space.

“Every material and layout decision was to utilize the unique architectural acoustics and to attempt to make it an instrument in itself, using fewer digital systems and with minimum control of the acoustics.

As the project is based on the psychological properties of sound and the transcending effects it can produce, the strong resonance of the pool was perfect for the performance.”

Check out the video of the performance down below. Strangely enough, CØV’s recording isn’t the first to be done inside a pool. In 1979, Bill Viola recorded an improvised sound composition in a disused swimming pool in Buffalo, New York.


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