Friday 21 June, 2013
On the 21st June the Sky Orchestra performed over Derry for the UK City of Culture 2013. Taking off at 640am the Sky Orchestra flew from the west side of the city to the east, with the balloons landing in the countryside beyond. The surround sound performance lasted an hour and was experienced by thousands of people in their homes below.
The Sky Orchestra is made up of seven hot air balloons, each with speakers attached, which take off at dawn and fly across a city. Each balloon plays a different element of a musical score, creating a massive audio landscape: "Like whales calling in the ocean, the same sounds may be heard in succession passing from one balloon to another across the sky..."
Many thousands of people experience the Sky Orchestra event live as the balloons fly over their homes at dawn. The airborne project is both a vast spectacular performance as well as an intimate, personal experience. A form of provocative acoustic urban art, Sky Orchestra questions the boundaries of public artwork, private space and the ownership of the sky.
Through the use of surround sound, Sky Orchestra aims to deliver a sculptural experience to the public, by lifting them into the creative space on the edge of sleep and then acoustically seeding their imaginations. To investigate the effects of sound on sleep Luke Jerram has been working with sleep psychologists at The University of West of England. A series of Dream Concerts have taken place and and the Dream Director installation has toured the UK. Findings influence the development of new Sky Orchestra compositions.