barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Sounds of Nocturnes

Where art, music and performance – contemporary and historic – meet, and encounter research from across academia, the Barber’s evening Nocturnes events are a groundbreaking, thought-provoking and enjoyable aspect of our Lates programme.


Percy Wyndham Lewis’s portrait of his wife, ‘Froanna’, of 1940, were the focus of Nocturnes: A Woman Refigured in May 2019, and featured a composition played at the event, created by Emma Margetson – to which you can listen here.

Considering the lines, colours, shapes and shading of Wyndham Lewis’s chalk drawing on blue paper, this 8-channel composition uses close-up microphone recordings of chalk on paper with blue (high frequency) noise and electronic sounds to transport the listener to an abstract interpretation of the emotive image.

Following the gestural strokes of chalk on paper, what do you hear? What do you see?

… a perpetual gaze…
… a clasped posture…
… a wife who was hidden from view…
… intensity…
… a sense of strain…
… an unfolding from the colour… blue…?

Listen with headphones for the full spatial experience.


Barber Home

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Nocturnes: Ethereal Science / Constructing Beauty

Tuesday 3 March, 6 – 8.30pm

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Spring 2020

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