New V&A Dundee soundtracks to be broadcast inside and outside waterfront landmark

Specially-commissioned soundtracks have been created for the distinctive architecture and setting of Dundee’s V&A museum.

Friday, 27th August 2021, 4:55 am
Sound artist and musician Su Shaw, who is also known as SHHE, has created a soundtrack for V&A Dundee's archway. Picture: Alan Richardson

A Japanese composer and percussionist and a Dundee-based sound artist and musician have created separate pieces inspired by the interior design and water features of the £80.1 million attraction, which sits on the banks of the River Tay.

The new features, which will be available to experience every day at the museum until next spring, have been unveiled nearly three years after it opened to the public.

The soundtrack by Midori Takada, who plays the Marimba, a wooden percussion instrument, was created after she met with Japanese architect Kengo Kume, who designed V&A Dundee.

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Japanese composer and percussionist Midori Takada was commissioned to create a new soundtrack inspired by the architecture of V&A Dundee.

Inspired by the wooden panels inside the building’s main hall, it will be played inside the museum for 90 minutes at 10am and 3:15pm each day.

Su Shaw, who is also known as SHHE, based her work on the sounds of the water in the river and pools outside the museum building, as well as the museum’s award-winning design, which Kuma based on the cliff faces which can be found on the nearby Angus coastline.

Her work will play in the museum’s outdoor archway, which offers views through the building to Dundee city centre and the Fife coastline, between 4 and 11pm each day.

V&A Dundee has joined forces with MSCTY, a leading global agency for projects combining music and architecture, to commission the new work.

Sound artist and musician Su Shaw, who is also known as SHHE, has created a soundtrack for V&A Dundee's archway. Picture: Alan Richardson

Becca Clark, project curator at V&A Dundee, said: “Although both Midori Takada and SHHE worked individually, their collaboration with the building blends to form a fascinating shared approach to working with sound and space across geographies and generations.

“Inviting visitors to be sonically guided around the museum, inside and out, is a new aspect of programming for the museum. Thinking about architecture, materials and the way that our movements impact the way sounds travel in a space can reconnect us to being present in those spaces.

“It feels wonderful to be able to offer a new experience for visitors both to the museum and to those visiting the surrounding spaces outside museum hours.”

Nick Luscombe, founder and creative director of MSCTY, said: “I’ve spoken to Kengo Kuma several times about his architectural vision for V&A Dundee and always wanted to connect this to the very best composers and musicians.

Midori Takada has created a soundtrack for the interior design of V&A Dundee. Picture: Hufton & Crow

“To work with both Midori Takada and SHHE to create architectural soundtracks for the museum is hugely exciting, as is making a musical connection between Scotland and Japan in the same way that the building represents a link between Scottish nature and one of Japan’s most remarkable architects.

“Through this music, I want visitors to look again at the museum, to pause and enjoy it in a completely new and different way.”

Shaw said: "During lockdown I would visit the museum every night as part of a walking route.

"The project provided an opportunity to explore alternative ways to experience the museum, using the constantly changing sounds present there, guiding people’s focus towards the natural environment.

"The composition that visitors will hear has been created using the natural water sources around the museum, triggered by weather data and tide levels, as well as the motion of ripples in the pools and of people passing through the space."