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Phantom Railings

Event Type: Installations

Event Date: Mon 12 June - Sun 10 September

by Public Interventions

Malet Street Gardens Malet Street w/ Montague Pl, Bloomsbury, WC1E 7HU

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Phantom Railings, Malet Street Gardens,  2014

Phantom Railings (2012–2014) is an interactive installation that uses sound to highlight the absence of railings from a Bloomsbury garden square by recreating the ´ghost´ of its lost fence.

The installation recalls a particular episode in London’s socio-spatial history: the removal of railings from London’s private squares as part of the 1940s war effort, the subsequent ‘democratisation’ of green space in the city centre, and the ruling decision to reinstate fences in the newly accesible public spaces.

Considering that MEMORY is the theme of this year´s Festival of Architecture, Phantom Railings will be installed once again in Malet Street Gardens, a garden in central London whose railings where removed during the war and, unusually, never replaced -leaving a line of iron stumps along the surrounding wall.

Using sensor-based acoustic devices, the installation, traces the movement of pedestrians and translates it into the familiar sound produced by running a stick along an iron fence. The pitch of each railing’s sound is set to vary according to the pedestrian’s speed and proximity, allowing the piece to be ´played´ as desired. The music produced by this urban instrument will be captured as a real-time audio-visual score and streamed live to the project´s website:

Go railing!

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