Have you crossed a singing bridge?
The weekend before last my wife and I spent a couple of days in Hull. It might not be somewhere you automatically think of for a weekend break, but it’s the UK City of Culture this year and we visited for a reason…
The Humber Bridge
Throughout April you can stroll along the 2,220-metre structure and take in the art installation, The Height of the Reeds, via the headphones provided. It’s an auditory installation – using material created from the sound of the bridge itself as the basis for the music – and the experience changes based on the speed you walk at.
From a purely architectural and engineering point of view, the bridge is well worth visiting – it’s a stunning structure and it’s the longest single-span suspension bridge in the UK.
But the sound installation adds another dimension to the walk. It’s been set up by Opera North and covers three miles – you listen to it as you walk back and forth along the length of the bridge.
A Hull-based sound artist, Jez Riley French, has recorded wind and traffic noise from the bridge and blended it with traditional orchestral instruments, and it works quite well – the cables resonating creates a musical sound.
Celebrating Hull’s trading history with Scandinavia, the entire piece is composed by a Norwegian jazz musician and trumpeter, a Norwegian electronica expert and a Norwegian guitarist, plus there are readings from Hull residents and local-born actors including Maureen Lipman.
As you reach certain points on the bridge, this triggers certain sounds to be set off – it’s certainly a unique experience!
I believe it’s only on in April, and you need to book tickets, so if you want to catch it you need to move fast. But the Humber Bridge isn’t going anywhere and it’s worth a visit just to be reminded of the incredible feats of engineering that we are capable of.
If you have any feats of engineering we can help you with – large or small – please do get in touch.