Commissioned by the University of Salford Art Collection and Metal, The Storm Cone uncovers the buried past of lost bandstands and brass bands during the interwar years.

The title of the work comes from Rudyard Kipling’s 1932 poem that forewarned of the Second World War. It considers key aspects of the interwar period and the ensuing break-up and reshaping of communities.

Laura Daly’s augmented reality artwork is available to view in Peel Park, via a free app and is launched alongside the You Belong Here exhibition, in Salford Museum and Art Gallery which aims to capture the city’s unique history and environment, on the occasion of ‘Rediscovering Salford’.

Sharing why we should appreciate our green spaces and their history, Daly said:

“There’s an aspect to them that many people don’t realise, which is how they came about. They are very much our parks. Municipal parks like Peel Park were often paid for by the community, through public subscription and were the first open spaces available for everyone.”

Daly’s initial vision for The Storm Cone evolved during a digital residency with Metal, for NetPark in Chalkwell Park Southend where the artwork is now additionally located.

Looking back on this Daly said: “As an artist I’m very interested in concealed and implied narratives. I hoped that Chalkwell Park once had a bandstand and when this became apparent from local research in archives and historical records, I recognised that it would be a really good fit for making an artwork.

“The idea of a brass band, their music and its relationship to community – alongside the use of new technologies, all created this very interesting starting point for me.”

Detail from the recording of The Storm Cone Commission in Peel Hall, November 2020. Photograph: Laura Daly.

The public will primarily experience The Storm Cone through an app. There is also a supporting website. In the Parks, at the beginning of the experience, they will first hear a newly commissioned piece of music by award winning composer Lucy Pankhurst, depicting a brass band’s last performance during the interwar years. Augmented Reality will allow the visitor to also witness the ‘skeleton’ of a traditional bandstand as they hear the immersive music.

Explaining more about how the app works Daly said:

“Currently the Storm Cone can be experienced in Chalkwell Park or Peel Park. After downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play, they will initially be guided by a map that takes them to the site of where the bandstand once stood.

“At the end of the commissioned piece, there are eight binaural sound works that are placed around the outside of the bandstand. Each sound work builds on solo sections from the Commission and takes you through different stages of the interwar period, from Armistice to the beginning of World War 2.”

Describing her collaboration with Lucy Pankhurst Daly said: “It was a joy to work with her – a really positive, creative experience. It was fantastic to work with someone who uses a different media but who also completely understands the processes that I use.”

Lucy Pankhurst 2021. Photograph: Steve Hocking.

The University of Salford’s students, staff and friends also played a vital role in the making of The Storm Cone. Working together on the artwork throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, reinforced the importance of teamwork when completing projects like this.

“Plans for the project were in motion before Covid-19 and funding came through just before the first lockdown.

“Like everyone, we had to adapt in our own way. A great deal of communication was via Zoom and Teams. That in itself was a big learning curve. I hadn’t realised how much you get from physically meeting people and physically working together. But we made it work.

“Collaborating with people from so many different areas of expertise and just working as a team was absolutely brilliant, it brought so much into the mix of what’s possible.”

Socially distanced recording of The Storm Cone Commission, by Lucy Pankhurst in Peel Hall with Richard Harvey conducting, November 2020. Photograph: Joseph Stevenson.

The Storm Cone will be available to experience in Peel Park until December 2023.

To find out more about The Storm Cone you can visit You Belong Here

And to download the app to witness the immersive experience and artwork visit Google Play
Apple app store Or

The You Belong Here exhibition is set to be held at the Salford Museum & Art Gallery from June to the 28th November 2021. However, due to hailstorm damage, the original opening date of the 29th May has been set back.

You can keep an eye on their website for the new revised opening date.

Featured image credit: Jon Smith.

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