(as Jones/Bulley, with Daniel Jones)

Southbank Centre, London
(28 May — 14 September 2015). 

Commissioned by the Southbank Centre and World Wide Web Foundation.

Vespers is a sound installation by Jones/Bulley that composes a musical score in real-time, drawn from the online activity of the United Kingdom. Each day, the work begins afresh with a blank score, searching through the vast body of text and sound material posted online across the day, progressively composing a voice-led score that reflects and portrays our everyday concerns. Vespers is a secular evensong written for performance at dusk – a period of collective introspection on the day.

Throughout the day, a number of invisible software agents search
the web for new material - fragments of conversations within online communities, comments from forums, audio uploads to social media sites - mapping the nation’s thoughts, ideas and concerns. Encoded with knowledge of musical harmony and linguistic rhythm, an autonomous orchestration process translates this online activity into a text-sound score, drawn in real-time by an automated ink plotter at the installation site.

Vespers references the ecclesiastical practice of evensong, a service of evening psalms that serves as a space for communal contemplation and reflection at dusk. Following the traditional structure, each day’s score is arranged in seven sections, incorporating sung texts for soloists and vocal ensemble, notation for string quartet, and found audio material. Each section explores different aspects of social and creative concerns that are arising online. The closing section, Compline, portrays the hopes and fears that people have for the future, with a duet of soprano and tenor voices that intone phrases including ‘tomorrow I hope that...’, ‘one day I will.. 

With thanks to;
Sarah Topliss,
Southbank Centre,
Damien Borowik.