Bompas & Parr to create supernatural voice installation for Merge festival

Bompas & Parr will unveil the world's first supernatural voice installation on 29 September in London, as part of the eclectic annual arts festival Merge Bankside.

Bompas & Parr will create a supernatural voice installation for Merge Bankside in London (credit Stefan Braun)
Bompas & Parr will create a supernatural voice installation for Merge Bankside in London (credit Stefan Braun)

The ‘Voice of God’ installation will be hosted at Hilton London Bankside from 29 September until 2 October.

Bompas & Parr has worked with acoustic scientists to design and build the installation, which uses submitted voices, transposed to infrasound, to give visitors the impression of a supernatural or divine experience.

Bompas & Parr claims it is the first time that infrasound has been creatively used to give people a spectral visitation.

The physical installation will pose questions about consciousness, our perception of the physical world and our understanding of the supernatural.

People can submit a spoken message to Bompass & Parr by 15 September to be in with a chance of having their message included in the activation. The selected messages will be broadcast via a custom sound system created by TPI Sound. The system will be embellished with archivolts, tympanums and flying buttresses and will broadcast infrasound at 19 Hz, which is below the regular hearing threshold of humans. The low-frequency vibrations can cause the eyeball to distort.

Harry Parr, director of Bompas & Parr, said: "This project is particularly relevant today as belief in ghosts is growing. The system will be designed to look like a battling carnival soundsystem tricked out by a visionary medieval master builder.

"Architectural features such archivolts, tympanums and flying buttresses frame the speakers and subs. The architectonic speakers make for an eminently photographable piece, one that demands visitors genuflect, saying ‘on your knees,’ in a stentorian voice."

The installation has been inspired by psychologist Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire who thinks that the odd sensations that people attribute to religious and supernatural experiences may be caused by infrasonic vibrations.

The soundscape itself is being created by composer Dom James and the installation will be located at Hilton London Bankside’s indoor pool.

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