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Rain, Steam, and Speed: revisited with art and music

An immersive audio response to Joseph Mallord William Turner’s 'Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway'

The NGX residency programme was launched in 2019 with composer and musician Peter Wiegold, who was commissioned to create a special composition in response to Jospeh William Mallord Turner’s Rain, Steam and Speed.  

The project used sound design by Keir Vine and immersive spatial audio technologies developed by Zoran Cvetkovic, Professor of Digital Signal Processing at King’s College London and Dr Enzo de Sena, University of Surrey.  

The project's aim was to take a painting from the walls of the National Gallery and transform it into an audio experience in the NGX lab, in an attempt to explore how technology might be used to help visitors rediscover some of the most famous and familiar works in the collection, and how the Gallery can partner sound and classical visual art in new ways. 

The composition was showcased at the NGX launch, with a live performance by harpist Alina Bzhezhinska and a bespoke 8-Channel speaker system which was used to spatialise the sound of both the harpist and sound design, which underpinned the composition as it unfurled.

Image: Harpist Alina Bzhezhinska performing at the NGX launch.

The performance took place during an event that was supported by speeches from Sir Tim Berners Lee, Laurent Gaveau from Google Arts & Culture, Gabriele Finaldi from the National Gallery and Baroness Deborah Bull from King's College London.  

The work is also part of an ongoing artistic research collaboration with King's College London in development of their own 3D spatial sound technologies. 

People involved

Composition: Peter Wiegold 
Director and concepts: Ali Hossaini 
Technology: Zoran Cvetkovic and Enzo de Senna
Sound Design, Mix and Spatialisation: Keir Vine 
Harp: Alina Bzhezhinska 

What is National Gallery X?

National Gallery X (NGX) is a partnership between the National Gallery and King's College London. It brings together King's College London’s research with the art and audiences of the Gallery to create the new museum experiences technology could make possible in the future.

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