Signal-on-Sea – a Sound and Vision Seascape at Irvine Beach
Irvine Beach Park and the whole Irvine Bay area is one of the most starkly beautiful places on the West Coast. The vast beach area is something of a dog walkers paradise these days, the sort of place where hundreds of walkers can still get a feeling of isolation among the dunes and spread of the beach. It’s part of a wider area that has always been fascinating to me. In my youth the Magnum Centre was the main attraction. It was one of the first multi-use leisure centres in the country, with a theatre, cinema, swimming pool, ice-rink and more, it drew people from all over Ayrshire and beyond to Irvine Harbour. Just across the water on the Ardeer Peninsula (formerly an island) a new bridge built in 2000 took you to you The Big Idea, a science museum and attraction built on the site of the former Nobel explosives plant, that was supposed to cement the harbour as a major tourist destination. What remains of the bridge and the Big Idea remain visible and crumbling, the Magnum has now gone. The latest redevelopment over the last decade or so has been as a residential ‘harbour village’ with the Harbour Arts Centre, the struggling Maritime Museum, and the beach now all that remains of that ambitious failed project.
But for the second half of July, the Beach Park will be home to the latest project from the excellent Cryptic. Signal-on-Sea, a large scale environmental sound installation by the Dutch artists Strijbos and Van Rijswijk will occupy the beach from 16 July to 25 July, accompanied by Heather Lander‘s light sculpture Nearer Future in the Harbour Arts Centre.
Lander’s Nearer Futures asks where technology has got us and where it might go next. The symmetrical weaves and webs of light are accompanied by Robert Bentall’s Talien, a composition performed on the traditional Swedish nyckelharpa. It will run simultaneously with the main attraction on the beach.
Signal-on-Sea is the latest production from Glasgow based Cryptic. It is part of Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters, a tourist focussed Scottish Government project sponsored and led by VisitScotland. If the aim is experiencing, enjoying and participating in our coasts then you probably couldn’t do that any better than Strisjbos and Van Risjwijk‘s installation. It will certainly make me visit Irvine.
Using 24 speakers, Signal-on-Sea interweaves operatic female voices, an enchanting soundscape amplified across a stretch beach facing Arran. Using sound and text, it’s sure to be a moving and unique way of experiencing this remarkable landscape.
Signal-on-Sea // Fri 16-25 July // FREE //12.00noon-10.30pm // Assembly point: Coastwatch Scotland Unit, Irvine Beach
Nearer Future // Fri 16-25 July // FREE but ticketed (advance booking required // Harbour Arts Centre