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The Ice Mountain – Sound Installation by Chris Watson

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Our Artist in Residence for Nature Unwrapped, Chris Watson, has created a sound calendar of environments from the northern hemisphere. In November and December you will be hearing sounds from the Tunabreen glacier on the island of Svalbard. Come early to enjoy the installation beginning half an hour before the performances in Hall One.

At latitude 78 degrees north, the progress of the Tunabreen glacier on the island of Svalbard towards the Arctic Ocean is fractional in winter. The movement of this massive river of ice is imperceptible but not silent. The sheer weight of freshwater ice at the head of the glacier shifts and grinds everything in its path and my hydrophones, fixed deep into a narrow crevasse, reveal an uncanny heartbeat-like pulse.

Further towards the ocean, house-sized blocks of ‘pressure ridges’ fracture, and their subsequent vibrations seem reminiscent of 1960s pioneering electronic music.

Finally, the freshwater shards mix and merge with the frozen slush of coastal sea ice and create a waveless coastline, below which bearded seals sing their haunting songs in the blackness.

Chris Watson

Read ‘Ears to the Ground’ – an introduction to Chris Watson’s work and his Kings Place residency.


This sound installation can be heard from 13 November until the end of December 2020 ahead of all Nature Unwrapped concerts taking place in Hall One. Access to the installation requires a concert ticket for the relevant main event in Hall One.

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