17.04.18 | Sonic Museum

Tuesday 17th April, 6-8pm


Eric de Visscher

Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor, VARI


Caroline Devine

Sound Artist and Composer


Our invited speakers Eric de Visscher and Caroline Devine will be discussing the subject of sound in exhibitions. This is a relatively recent topic of study, motivated by an increase in the different sonic interactions and encounters experienced within the contemporary gallery or museum space, in part due to new digital, portable and VR technologies. In a future ‘multi-sensory’ museum, normative modes of display are redundant; sonic and spatial parameters – physical, conceptual, political, ecological – are opened up, re-negotiated and challenged.

Chaired by Ruth Bernatek (Bartlett)


This event is now FULLY BOOKED

Register you place on our waiting list here.


Caroline Devine is a sound artist and composer whose practice investigates the boundary between sound and music, encompassing electroacoustic composition, sound installation, radio and theatre. Her works explore voices, sounds and signals that are ordinarily imperceptible, silenced or in some way absent, such as natural radio transmissions, solar resonances, electromagnetic signals and hidden voices. Devine has a particular interest in the use of space as a compositional parameter and her site-specific sound installations include an 18th Century Folly, an outdoor parabolic dome structure, the windows of a Grade II listed shopping centre, MK Gallery’s lift, The Open University campus grounds and Alan Turing Hut 8 at Bletchley Park.

Recent works include; Resonant Space, (Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia), City of Things (Exposure, BBC Radio 3) Poetics of (Outer) Space (IKON Gallery) Space Ham (BBC Radio 3), Station X (BBC Radio 4 Today programme) and Oscillate (commissioned by ICA for SOUNDWORKS).

Throughout 2014, Devine was Leverhulme Artist in Residence with the Solar and Stellar Physics group in the School of Physics and Astronomy at University of Birmingham where she worked alongside scientists studying data on the natural resonances of stars from the NASA Kepler Mission. From March 2018, as Creative Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Birmingham, she will work alongside the HiROS team and Stellar Astrophysics Centre, Aarhus developing work in response to the TESS mission. Devine has been twice shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award for her sound installations, 5 Minute Oscillations of the Sun and On Air.


Eric de Visscher is currently Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Professor at the V&A Research Instittute, where he is researching new models for engaging with musical instruments in galleries and exhibitions, and on museum digital platforms.

After earning degrees in philosophy, linguistics and music, he has initiated and lead a number of research and cultural projects across Europe and America, that explore interactions between fine arts, music and space.

In 1997, he was appointed artistic director of the Institute for Research and Coordination Acoustic / Music (IRCAM). In this role, he co-founded an interdisciplinary contemporary festival, Agora, and acted as sound curator and advisor to exhibitions including ‘Le Temps, Vite’ (2000), ‘Roland Barthes’ (2002), ‘Sonic Process’ (2003) and ‘Sons et Lumières’ (2005).

In 2005, de Visscher joined the Cité de la musique in Paris (now Philharmonie de Paris). He was appointed director of the Musée de la musique, France’s national collection of musical instruments, in 2006. There, he initiated a radical redisplay of the museum’s permanent galleries and supervised an ambitious program of music-related exhibitions that explored the complex relations between music, the arts and major cultural issues.

De Visscher has been a curatorial consultant for the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Phoenix (2007–11), the San Diego Museum of Art (2012–15), Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2014) and the Victoria & Albert Museum (2016), as well as acting as Artistic Director for the ‘Sounds French Festival’ (New York, 2003). He is also a board member of CIMCIM (the ICOM commitee for musical instruments collections) and served as secretary-general of ICOM France from 2013 to 2016.

He is a regular contributor to art and music magazines, exhibition catalogues and radio programmes. His current research continues to explore the relationship between music and visual arts in museum display, addressing fundamental questions raised by the idea of exhibitions about music.