Inside Bill Viola’s new sound installation The Talking Drum



The Spaces magazine explores the resonance of Bill Viola’s The Talking Drum.

Originally posted on The Spaces.

‘Buildings talk, you can listen to them,’ wrote artist Bill Viola back in 1979. He was explaining how he had created ‘The Talking Drum’, an improvised sound composition recorded within the resonating architecture of a disused swimming pool in Buffalo, New York.

Viola is presenting those recordings for the first time since conceiving the piece – only this time, he wants to hear what London’s Brewer Street Car Park has to say.

The Vinyl Factory Space inside the Grade II-listed Soho building is hosting an exhibition of the artist’s early work, showcasing his experimentation with sound and space. In addition to ‘The Talking Drum’, Viola’s ‘Hornpipes’ – recorded in the same Buffalo swimming pool – is being exhibited.

Another piece by Viola, ‘Moving Stillness (Mt. Rainier)’, is also on show in the nearby Blain|Southern gallery in Hanover Square.

The Vinyl Factory, meanwhile, has extracts from ‘The Talking Drum’, ‘Hornpipes’ and another work, ‘Pulses’, available as a limited vinyl edition of 100. Click here to order your copy.

Bill Viola’s ‘The Talking Drum’ at Brewer Street Car Park runs until 7 November. Click here for more information of how to visit.