18 March 2019
Recording of the week: Will Montgomery - Submarine
This week's selection comes from Dr Eva del Rey, Curator of Drama and Literature Recordings and Digital Performance.
You may have seen this extraordinary ventilation shaft known as the Camberwell Submarine on Akerman Rd. London SW9.
It was built in the 1970s as part of an underground boiler room and heating system for Myatt’s Field estates. It is regarded as one of a kind due to its dimensions and design. See urban 75 for more images.
The boiler room and heating system is no longer in use. The room is closed but there is a memento of its sound kept forever in the archives.
‘Let us cross a large modern capital with our ears more sensitive than our eyes’ wrote futurist maverick Luigi Russolo in The Art of Noises (1913).
Artist Will Montgomery made recordings of the machinery of the boiler room in action. He assembled them into a short piece and published it on Touch Radio website, 8th November 2008. He called it ‘Submarine’.
I went on location on a Friday afternoon last February and strolled along the site listening to Montgomery’s composition on my phone. White noise, a harmony of hissing sounds exhaling through the boiler's steel valves. It felt both eerie and calming as if the Camberwell Submarine had gradually come back to life.