Strand Aldwych VoiceLine

The VoiceLine by Nick Ryan

From Wed 07 Dec 2022
08.00 - 20.00
Strand Aldwych

Immersive audio installation launches Strand Aldwych, a major new public space in central London.

The audio installation, commissioned by The Northbank BID, is delivered in partnership with the BBC, and inspired by the historical broadcasting legacy of the area.

The VoiceLine by Somerset House Studios resident artist Nick Ryan, is the first artist commission for the new Strand Aldwych public space and will be in situ for the next three months. The transformation of Strand Aldwych in the heart of Westminster has seen the ancient route adapted to become a modern meeting point and people-focused destination, which will be regularly animated by events, installations, and a series of artist commissions and research. Here art, performance and research will emerge and evolve, breaking down walls and creating a new platform for sharing knowledge.  

The VoiceLine is a unique instrument for voice, sound, music, and audio storytelling, shaped by the new site and spanning the length of the space (170m). A rich programme of bespoke audio works will be created for a daily schedule, between 08.00 - 20.00, creating an evolving pathway of sound delivered by a line of 39 highly focused speakers.  

The installation will be brought to life through a unique partnership with the BBC, during its centenary year. Located close to Marconi House from where the BBC first broadcast on 14 November 1922 and running past Bush House, the former home of BBC World Service, The VoiceLine will engage the public with voices from the past, drawing on the early innovations of radio, the famous voices of the news and nation, and the multitude tongues of the BBC World Service. The Voiceline will draw on the vast resources of the BBC audio archive as well as the multilayered histories of the Strand delivering a unique spatial sound work comprising archive, original recordings and compositions. 

Among the many sounds that visitors will encounter include some of the earliest radio broadcasts, the voices of women pioneer broadcasters, memories of Bush House, spatial urban field recordings of cities around the world, natural environments from the forests of Canada to the sound of melting ice in the Artic, visions of the future gathered from Kings College London students, recreations of the Strand’s pre-industrial traffic, experiments with sound from The BBC Radiophonic Workshop and others, and the mysterious utterances of ‘Number Stations’ coded messages broadcast by foreign intelligence agencies.