Nicola Rae : Hydrophonic-Sonic Frequencies
TRACK CHANGES: LV21 LIGHTSHIP, Gillingham Pier, Gillingham, Kent. April 2011.

A Collaboration between Nicola Rae and Colin Turner (hydrophone and morse code enthusiast)

Our collaboration started with.... ‘Do you know anything about hydrophones?’ Hydrophones happened to be of long-standing interest to Colin and he offered to make one from spare parts so that we could experiment aboard LV21. This DIY hydrophone proved very effective at picking up sounds travelling through the hull of the ship into the water at high tide. My site specific art practice includes visualising sound frequencies live and we decided to experiment with a collaborative hybrid of analogue and digital technologies.
Colin’s other talents included morse code and singing sea shanties. We experimented with recording morse code in the Radio Room and sea shanties in different spaces within the ship. The most sonically resonant space that we found was in the Fog Horn Chamber, which was where many of the shanties were recorded. We played back the morse code and shanties through speakers placed against the hull of the ship in the Fog Horn Chamber, buried under many blankets. This allowed sound to travel into the water and be picked up by Colin’s hydrophone which had customized amplification. Directly above the Fog Horn chamber was the Equipment Store, where live sonic frequency visualisations of these echoing sounds were projected onto the cabin walls. The hydrophone was in the water and connected to headphones that were accessed through a porthole in the Equipment Store, allowing the recorded sounds to clearly be heard traveling through the water.

A Figure Ground project supported by
Arts Council England and LV21 Lightship

'Track Changes: LV21 Lightship' catalogue