”Phantom railings” is an interactive sound sculpture that uses the movements of pedestrians to evoke the ghost of a lost iron fence.
The site of the intervention is a garden in Bloomsbury, whose railings were removed as part of the 1940s war effort and never replaced, leaving a line of iron stumps along the surrounding wall. Using sensor-based acoustic devices, the installation makes evident the absence of railings by creating a resemblance of 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 this urban instrument to be played and tuned as desired.
Inspired by the wartime initiative to democratise parks and gardens by removing their railings, the project engages with a centuries-old debate about public space and accessibility. The aim is to bring these subjects into question, promoting a critical awareness of the social and spatial history of the city in a way that is entertaining and, most importantly, accessible to all.
For more information, visit: publicinterventions.org
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