MK Gallery

Sound installation: City of Things

City of Things Friday 6 October – Sunday 5 November / 10:00am – 8:00pm

6 October to 5 November 2017, 10am - 8pm Midsummer Arcade, centre:mk 

City of Things - a large-scale sound installation by composer and sound artist Caroline Devine - will be presented in the centre:mk from 6 October until 5 November. Running daily from 10am to 8pm, this ambitious new artwork celebrates the sounds of the unique city of Milton Keynes in its 50th anniversary year. 

Caroline Devine creates large-scale sound installations exploring the unheard, hidden voices and imperceptible sounds of nature, the city and beyond. For City of Things  Caroline spent the last year researching archives, conducting interviews, attending rehearsals, developing performances, writing arrangements, and making recordings, big and small, at scores of different sites around the city. She then set about weaving this wealth or raw material into the fabric of her own multi-channel compositions, which are themselves site-specific performances to the various locations she encountered. 

Some sounds emerged 'by chance', fully formed, like the brief fragment of one member of a steel band playing Happy Birthday to an anonymous lady (the city, perhaps?) at Art in the Park this summer. Other sounds emerged from different forms of planned collaborations with local individuals and choirs, or recordings that simply listened in on what the wildlife, the weather or the traffic had to say, the rhythm of the wind, or the chatter of machines.

As well as combining the voice of nature with the voices of the people of Milton Keynes in song and chant, Caroline invited performance poet Murray Lachlan Young to collaborate with her on a number of site-specific compositions, which are woven throughout the composition. He also provides the voice of poet William Cowper who lived locally in the eighteenth century and wrote extensively about the area. 

City of Things' complex and evocative soundscape will resonate throughout Midsummer Arcade. Through window resonators, tannoy systems and hidden speakers, the very fabric of this building - for many the heart of Milton Keynes- will sing with the voices and sounds of the city.

Caroline has also produced an Online Soundmap which provides links to some of the compositions and recordings developed for City of Things.

Further information can be found at:

Led by Bletchley Park working in partnership with the Open University and MK Gallery, this commission forms an integral part of City Club.