The Arcade (2010) brings the soundscape of Rynek Główny, the main square in Kraków, Poland, to the Rotunda Café at the Harris Museum on Market Square in Preston.
The recording, which was made in the Sukiennice, an arcaded Renaissance cloth hall that dates from 1257, illustrates a day in the life of Rynek Główny. It begins at the moment the city wakes up with sounds of birds, footsteps of people going to work, cleaning machines, early maintenance and building work and ends with tourists and locals making their way home from bars and clubs
Each hour is marked by a chiming clock in Rynek Główny and a trumpet signal, played from one of two towers in the square creating the key connection between the two realities of these locations. The tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate a 13th century trumpeter, who was shot while sounding the alarm during an attack on the city.
The interaction of visitors with the sound and architecture is an important element of the work, and the piece holds specific meanings for different audiences.
For a Polish immigrant the sound of the trumpet player from Mariacki Church brings nostalgia and perhaps longing for the familiar sounds of the motherland, whilst the local audience hearing some of the unfamiliar noise is forced to reexamine and possibly question the familiar surroundings of the Harris Building.
The Arcade has been commissioned alongside Susan Walsh’s short film To Scatter in St Wilfrid’s Church, Chapel Street, Preston, as part of a series of artworks curated by Lubaina Himid for In Certain Places.