What would Andy Warhol have heard, if he’d been in the De La Warr this Saturday – with his trusty tape-recorder? What sounds would have found their way onto the spooling, turning strips of magnetic tape? Since Andy couldn’t be there – we invited visitors to make their own transcriptions of the voice of the building – as part of our ongoing participatory text-art project. Adults and kids – joined DLWP artist, Wendy Ann Greenhalgh, in creating a creative, rich, funny and occasionally surreal account of yet another Saturday in the Pavilion. Here’s what we heard…

Time: 14:45 Name: Malachi Leon Sterling
Age: 5 years 10 months

The wind

Name: Marcia

“…here or the coffee shop over the road?”
“..interior design shop..most unusual stuff..”
“It’s a different sort of look, isn’t it?”
“That’s too old to be the 1950s!”
“There’s a man in the tree.”
“I’m walking around the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill with my sister.”
“A waste bin! Four waste bins! God. Dear.”
“..tuck his stomach in… it’s different..”
“This was all walled up – just packing cases.”
“Can I take a picture of you?”
“That’s nice.”
“Mike and Julie and Julie’s sister…chucked it down the stairs”
“Is that anybody’s chair?”
“I hate to ask you, but do you mind if we jump in?”
“They’re nice cups and saucers! Aren’t they nice cups and saucers?”
“For her to offer us that parsley was a bloody insult!” “That’s two Americanos, and one’s a de-caff.”

Time: 15:15 Name: Martin

Most of the sound of the building is the discordant noise echoed from concrete, so low sounds, of distant voices with the detail lost & the crash of a dropped item in the gift shop, saved, and the silence afterwards.  

Name: Carole Grant
Time: 15:35

‘I thought he was still alive. He died’

A group of friends in their 40s come in together. Some are wearing poppies. ‘They said it would take an hour to go round it. It’ll take us an hour to read this [the introductory text]. It took us half an hour to park’

A man brings his father and his small son into the gallery. ‘That is the man, Andy Warhol, who created all this art here’, he says. The boy looks at the large photograph of Andy. ‘He looks funny’. The man agrees. ‘He does, doesn’t he?’ In the next room, the boy goes up to the painting Butterfly Day, and starts to count them. After a while, his dad moves him on, saying ‘it must be at least a hundred’. They look at Campbell’s Green Pea Soup. ‘That’s one of his most famous paintings’ says the man. Then, round the corner, ‘oh, there it is again’. His father, in his red anorak and beret, corrects him. ‘No, that’s tomato soup. It’s completely different’.

‘I don’t know how he got away with it. Maybe they were flattered….’

A mother is looking at the pictures, pulling a small bike along while her small son runs round touching everything. ‘Stop touching the pictures. I said, stop touching the pictures!’

‘this is what he did, repeat images, isn’t it?’

Two men stand looking at the Marilyn Triptych. ‘This is definitely worth a few bob, it’s got a rail round it.’ One of them goes to read the caption. ‘Yeah, Tate Gallery’. They move onto the Mao sequence. One of them looks at the same image on the back of his exhibition programme. ‘Hey, I could get this framed and pass it off’.

A child runs up to his parents in the photograph room. ‘Is this legal?’. His mother laughs ‘You don’t have to look!’
At the photograph Cadaver: ‘lumps of meat. Looks like an abattoir. It’s a leg, I’d say’

Time: 16:14 Name: Steve

“left wheel”
mumble, mumble
whistle w-w-whistle
ma ma
“time’s up”
tick-tock tick-tock tick
grrrr! Ha!
da da
ah! ah! ah!
tick-flop tick-tock
EEEEE – umama – avava
clop clop
He he he! Grrr! Ha
har le lar la lar
“he’s a monster”ea
mum mum
grumble humble humdrum

But the final word goes to Finn – Aged 8 – who told us “When I look at a picture I think myself in it and so I couldn’t hear anything in the gallery except the sounds in the picture.”


Posted by Ryan Coleman on Monday 14 November 2011