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.
Mainstone says: “I wanted visitors to view Tower 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.
Daily: 10am – 5pm. Admission: Adult £9.80; Child £4.20