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Geiger-Müller Sound System

Video Details

Geiger-Müller Sound System is a collaboration between composer Timothy X Atack and sound artist MrUnderwood. Whilst in residence at Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio, they rescued an ancient rotting harmonium and transformed it into a worldwide sound installation that will play for a hundred years.

Oct 2012 - Jan 2013

Duration: 6mins 41secs

An artwork that will remain a mystery to the artists who conceived of it. A puzzle for those who come across its many pieces, scattered worldwide...

Geiger-Müller Sound System is a new collaboration between writer, composer and film director Timothy X Atack and musician, sound artist and instrument designer MrUnderwood. Both share an interest in ambient sound, and the use of sound design to transpose or enhance a sense of location. They also share a passion for the playing of instruments and the accessibility of such to the widest possible variety of participants.

Between September 2012 and January 2013 Geiger-Müller Sound System were resident at Pervasive Media Studio developing GMSS001, a worldwide sound installation which is made from an ancient harmonium. The artists plan to scatter encased reeds from the instrument through flea markets and junk stalls in the hope that they will find themselves around the globe. Each hand-made unit will have a code or name that the owner can then use online to find a secret community. Alone, the reeds will play a single note but together they will form chords, produce unexpected electronic noises, and ultimately, if every reed was brought together somehow, a choir would be formed. The pair want to reward investigation and provide a source of intrigue for the people that stumble across these instruments. In an age where everything is based on fast results, Geiger-Muller Sound System hope the joy of this project will live far longer than the originators themselves.

“We wanted to make something big, ambitious, possibly even a little bit dangerous during our residency at Watershed and decided to create an artwork that we'd scatter to the wind, that in its very design would outlive us both. The world is full of so many things – technologies, consumables, government policies – that are designed for immediate gratification. This work will be made to last for as long as possible... and the artists who thought it up will, hopefully, never know what happens to it in the end."  Timothy X Atack

You can read their fascinating blog entries, tracking how the project unfolded.

Geiger-Müller Sound System and fellow residents Juneau Projects, are supported by Watershed's Studio Residencies 2012 development programme,
funded by Arts Council England.