MAKING THE BRIDGE SING: TOWER BRIDGE LAUNCHES NEW FILM AND EXHIBITION TO SING IN CELEBRATION FOR 125TH ANNIVERSARY
- Sound artist, inventor and filmmaker Di Mainstone reimagines London’s defining landmark as a giant musical instrument to retell the story of one of the Bridge’s first female workers.
- The film will feature in Making the Bridge sing a brand-new exhibition running from 29 January to March 2020 (inclusive) in the historic Victorian Engine Rooms.
- Designed to celebrate Tower Bridge’s 125th anniversary, the film and accompanying exhibition are part of an eclectic programme of arts, installations and intimate events to establish Tower Bridge as a must-see London cultural venue.
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Tower Bridge is set to launch its latest art commission with internationally acclaimed artist, inventor and filmmaker Di Mainstone, who has written and directed a film to celebrate the iconic Bridge’s 125th anniversary.
In her film, entitled ‘Time Bascule’, Tower Bridge has been reimagined as a giant musical instrument, drawing inspiration from one of the first women to work on the Bridge - Hannah Griggs, who cooked for the Bridge Master and his family between 1911-1915. In Time Bascule Hannah plays the role of musical maestro to pluck the strings and ‘play’ the iconic London location.
Mixing the real with the imagined, the film explores Hannah’s life in the famous towers via a specially composed musical narrative that weaves through one of the remarkable personal histories from 125 years of the Bridge.
Focusing on her love of plants, the dreamlike work sees Hannah researching the connection between music and plant growth, working to develop larger and more ambitious tools to help her ‘play’ Tower Bridge like a giant musical instrument.
The brand new work will be on display as part of an immersive exhibition called Making the Bridge sing in the Victorian Engine Rooms, inviting visitors to step into the song at the heart of the Bridge and experience the – until now – hidden sounds of London’s defining landmark. Designed to showcase the making of the film, the exhibition will include behind the scenes footage, storyboards and early sketches, and a chance for visitors to play a range of specially created musical instruments, all housed among the cultivated plants at the heart of Hannah’s fairy-tale.
Artist Di Mainstone has previously developed instruments to create music from the Brooklyn Bridge, Clifton Suspension Bridge and most recently Sunderland’s new Northern Spire Bridge. She is an award-winning WIRED innovation fellow who specialises in creating playable bridges and wearable sonic devices. The New York Times has featured her as one of their ‘new generation visionaries’ of the international digital art scene.
Di Mainstone says: “I wanted visitors to view the Bridge in a different way, reimagining the iconic crossing as a giant musical instrument to hear the historic song at the heart of its 125-year history. I was determined to give visitors a greater insight into the story of Hannah Griggs - it was inspiring to meet her descendants, and bring her personal history to life in such a wonderful location.
The film takes a look at the wider discussion around climate change, utilising the Bascule mechanism of the Bridge as a metaphor for balance, harmony and the delicate balance of our ecosystem”.
Chris Earlie, Head of Tower Bridge, says:“We’re thrilled to welcome artist Di Mainstone to reimagine one of the enduring human stories behind London’s defining landmark. We’re excited to showcase the fascinating visual and sonic work Di has crafted as part of her specially commissioned piece, welcoming visitors to explore the Bridge in a truly different light. The exhibition kick-starts another exciting year for the Bridge, further establishing Tower Bridge as a cross-genre cultural space in the capital.”
The exhibition runs from Wednesday 29 January – March 2020 (inclusive) and admission is included in the entry price for Tower Bridge.
Notes to Editors:
About Di Mainstone
- Artist and researcher, Di Mainstone creates body-centric sculptures, designed to initiate movement and storytelling. Inspired by technology, many of the wearable artefacts release sound when handled, and are designed to create new environments, silhouettes and functionality to tell a story.
- Di’s creations have been performed across the globe, most notably at The V&A, The Barbican, The National Portrait Gallery, Eyebeam NYC and the Swedish National Touring Theatre. Each happening is unique, revealing openings for audience and performer encounters. Di’s work can also be seen in films, which she writes and directs.
- The New York Times has featured Di Mainstone as one of the ‘new generation visionaries’ of the international digital arts scene. A global ambassador for audio brand Sennheiser, Di Mainstone is artist in residence at Queen Mary University London where she collaborates with researchers from the Centre for Digital Music and Media Arts & Technology group, to develop new musical instruments that are inspired by the body, transforming physical movement into sound via digital technology. Di has invented the term ‘Movician’ to describe the player of these instruments – a hybrid artist who explores and composes sound through movement.
- Di’s work can also be seen in films, which she writes and directs. Her studio is found up a windy stairway, amidst the reclaimed tube trains that roost on top of Shoreditch’s Village Underground, where her sculptural adornments are brought to life with dancers, musicians and scientists.
Tower Bridge (http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/)
- Tower Bridge was the creation of architect Sir Horace Jones and civil engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry. It took eight years to complete and was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra)
- Tower Bridge opening hours: 09:30 - 17:00 (last admission)
- Admission prices for Tower Bridge:
- Adults: £9.80
- Children aged 5-15: £4.20
- Concessions: £6.80
- Family tickets from £15.30
- Under 5s free
- A special community ticket of £1 is now available for residents of Southwark, Tower Hamlets and the City
- The nearest underground stations are London Bridge or Tower Hill
- Visit the Glass Floor up on the high-level Walkways, which gives visitors a unique perspective of London 42 metres above the Thames. “Look up on London” – a mirror installed over the West Walkway’s Glass Floor offers visitors a dizzying experience of the city. Guests are able to tread on the glass floor panels whilst traffic passes beneath their feet. It can withstand the weight equivalent to one elephant or two London Black Cabs.
- Download the Family Trail app to explore Tower Bridge like never before with an innovative app and activity packed booklet for 5-10 year olds.
- Offering refreshed collections and bespoke ranges of gifts and souvenirs, the Tower Bridge Gift Shop reopened to the public in November 2016 following a 6-week redevelopment. In 2018 the shop won the Museums + Heritage Award for ‘Best shop with a turnover more than £500k’. Now in its 16thyear, the Museums + Heritage Awards recognise projects of excellence, and innovative groundbreaking initiatives from galleries and visitor attractions from across the globe.
- Winner of the 2016 Sandford Award for Heritage Education. This prestigious award recognizes the importance of formal, curriculum-linked education opportunities offered to schools by heritage sites.
- Tower Bridge is one of only 20 UK attractions to receive the Visit England Gold Attractions Accolade in both 2018 and 2019. The accolade recognises quality visitor experiences on offer and is awarded to attractions that go the extra mile to provide a high quality day out.
- Tower Bridge is recognised as London’s defining landmark and is a proud supporter of the City Bridge Trust, generating over £6m a year, which goes towards helping charitable causes across London.
- The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
- The City Corporation, which owns and manages Tower Bridge, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year. The City Corporation is also developing Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate – a multi-million-pound investment which will create a new cultural and creative destination for London over the next 10 to 15 years.
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