Photography: Jana Chiellino

‘Buildings talk, you can listen to them,’ wrote artist Bill Viola back in 1979. He was explaining how he had created ‘The Talking Drum’, an improvised sound composition recorded within the resonating architecture of a disused swimming pool in Buffalo, New York.

Viola is presenting those recordings for the first time since conceiving the piece – only this time, he wants to hear what London’s Brewer Street Car Park has to say.

The Vinyl Factory Space inside the Grade II-listed Soho building is hosting an exhibition of the artist’s early work, showcasing his experimentation with sound and space. In addition to ‘The Talking Drum’, Viola’s ‘Hornpipes’ – recorded in the same Buffalo swimming pool – is being exhibited.

Bill Viola inside Brewer Street Car Park
Viola listens inside Soho’s Brewer Street Car Park
Photography: Michael Wilkin

Another piece by Viola, ‘Moving Stillness (Mt. Rainier)’, is also on show in the nearby Blain|Southern gallery in Hanover Square.

The Vinyl Factory, meanwhile, has extracts from ‘The Talking Drum’, ‘Hornpipes’ and another work, ‘Pulses’, available as a limited vinyl edition of 100.

Bill Viola’s ‘The Talking Drum’ at Brewer Street Car Park runs until 7 November

Viola, in the disused Buffalo swimming pool
The disused Buffalo swimming pool where Viola created his early work
Photography: Kira Perov

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