Rob Hamp launches the City Arcadia Festival on 22nd June 12:45pm at Coventry Cathedral



To gather this data in a true and honest way I wished to investigate the use of ground penetrating radar equipment and techniques. The equipment would hopefully identify the integral structure, the underlying strengths, possible weaknesses, and its reinforcing. The ring road reinforces Coventry’s day to day success in achieving a constant movement through and around the city.


It makes for an interesting telephone call when you speak of using the data  to create a musical piece for an art project. I was hugely fortunate to have a survey company intrigued enough and with the incredible vision to give it a go. Subscan became a true partner in this undertaking and without their commitment and generosity I would not have been able to achieve the results.


So in practical terms the equipment had to be towed behind a van at 11mph. So you can imagine trying to explain the project to the city council. Again they looked kindly on the project.


I then worked with the data output files from Subscan to create the audio piece that represents the Ring Road; a learning experience in that the 2d technical data had to become meaningful and accessible to the senses whilst maintaining its integrity. Ground penetrating radar captures the data scar by scar, anomaly by anomaly reinforcing the silent strength and durability of this iconic feature. It is this gathered data that results in the tempo and beat of the music. Perhaps another unique element of this project is that this may be the first time such an approach and process has been used, I cannot find another, again maybe in line with the cutting edge considerations of those City architects. Certainly for me there were some interesting moments as I created the large mp3 file – at times there were some elephant and catflap moments both in the manipulation of such a large file and as my brain caught up with what I was trying to do.


This audio piece underpinned by the Ring Roads data has very much an electronic element which serves well with the introduction of this style of music around the time of the Ring Roads completion – and completely by chance we know that German electronic band Tangerine Dream performed live at the cathedral on a U.K tour only a few months after the ring road’s completion.


To conclude this work is not visual. The cutting edge vision of those original designers stands firm and is not compromised. The composed sound lasts for the same duration as the ring road is in length. Finally my main addition to the data gathered is one of respect to the road, its designers, constructors, users; and to it and Coventry’s good and innovative future.

You will be able to catch Rob Hamp opening the #cityarcadiafestival with his audio piece and artist discussion:  June 22nd, 12.45pm @ Coventry Cathedral.