Beams of sunlight streamed through high windows onto the cool tiled floor of the Pannier Market where Janek Schaeffer's Local Radio Orchestra was tuning up as a welcome Indian Summer sizzled the streets of Bideford outside.
The Orchestra is a sound art installation commissioned in part by Beaford Arts to mark the start of the year long project "Confluence" along the River Torridge. It is an exploration into community and collaboration.
Award winning sonic artist, self confessed geek and former student of architecture Janek Schaefer uses the Orchestra to perform his compositions and "explore the spatial and architectural aspect that sound can evoke and the twisting of technology".
I contributed to the performance of "Unfolding" by tuning twelve classic Bush radios to receive Janek's transmissions from twelve iPods each connected to a pair of mini transmitters inside "the trunk". The emerging soundscape surrounded me like the mellow vibrations of a church organ. Shafts of autumn sun melting the half light of the vaulted market hall added a holy feel to the experience.
Earlier in the day a group of Appledore school children had come to take part in the work of art. Schaefer asked them what they liked about the piece "They told me they liked the radios," he said wryly "They enjoyed finding music on them." In this town with no local radio the children managed to pick up transmissions of music stations and were quite excited by the discovery. He added "When I asked who would like to take it home with them they all put their hands up." and with a smile "I asked them if they had rich parents!"