john wynne

Installation for 300 Speakers, Pianola and Vacuum Cleaner


Enhanced CD contents
- audio CD with a 45-minute recording of the installation
- bouncing off the Walls, a split-screen video by Pete Gomes
- an Aesthetics of Pressure, an essay by Brandon LaBelle


John Wynne's untitled installation for 300 speakers, pianola and vacuum cleaner is at once monumental, minimal and immersive. It uses sound and sculptural assemblage to explore and define architectural space and to investigate the borders between sound and music. There are three interwoven sonic elements: the ambient sound of the space in which it is installed, the notes played by the piano, and a computer-controlled soundtrack of synthetic sounds and gently manipulated notes from the piano itself. Because none of these elements are synchronised, the composition never repeats. The music punched into the paper roll is Franz Léhar's 1909 operetta Gypsy Love, but the mechanism has been altered to play at a very slow tempo and the Pianola modified to play only the notes which most excite the resonant frequencies of the gallery space in which it is installed.

"Integrating composed sounds along with the sounds of the Pianola, and in correspondence with the acoustical play of the space and the exterior environment, the installation is a sort of live organic composition of varying input and output.
The constellation of elements at play in Wynne's installation engage the temporal and the environmental, composing them into an unsteady musicality: the delicate unfurling of sounds as they arise from different points in the room find both support and rupture from the trains passing by outside; the bulky mass of loudspeakers, with their plastic and wood surfaces and dusty odour, command attention while attempting to integrate with the Pianola's sculptural melodies."
Brandon LaBelle

John Wynne is an award-winning sound artist whose practice includes installations and 'composed documentaries' for radio which hover on the boundary between documentation and abstraction. His massive installation for 300 speakers, pianola and vacuum cleaner became the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection in 2009 and won him the 2010 British Composer Award for Sonic Art.
His work with endangered languages includes a project with click languages in the Kalahari and another with one of Canada's indigenous languages, Gitxsanimaax.
His work with heart and lung transplant patients in collaboration with photographer Tim Wainwright led to
a book, a 24-channel installation and a half-hour commission for BBC Radio.
His first venture into theatre sound design was for Scottish director Graham McClaren's edgy 2011 production of Andromache in Toronto. John is a Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London and has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London.


01 Installation for 300 speakers, pianola and vacuum cleaner