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Ascending Composition 1 (For planes)

Ascending Composition 1 (For planes) is a mixed media art work commisioned by Watermans Gallery for their group-show and supported by Forma. 

The airspace surrounding Heathrow is partitioned both vertically and horizontally. Ascending Composition 1 (For planes) seeks to reflect on the governance of this space by using sound to infiltrate its forbidden zones. Working with the conception of the air as a contested space, this art work inverts the relationship of residents subject to the vagaries of aircraft noise by using helium balloons and kite tail sound systems to take the terrestrial sounds of Heathrow’s neighbourhoods into the sky. The three kite tail sound systems shuffle through recordings taken in residential and natural areas surrounding the airport, creating a shifting soundscape intended for broadcast along the flight path. In a world where both who gets to make noise and enjoy silence is so tied to wealth and corporate influence, this work seeks to carve out a moment where forgotten, over-powered and fragile sounds take flight. The composition is broadcast via the balloon-elevated kite tails in Waterman's gallery.


Air Matters: Learning from Heathrow forms an exhibition and programme of events that explores the politics of air. Focusing on the neighbourhood of Heathrow, it seeks to engage with the air’s materiality, occupation, and contestation, as well as with the potential and limitations of representing these themes by means of art.

For some, the air is a hyper-modern space of networks and travel. For others, it is what they must breathe. Such diverse  requirements within a single neighbourhood creates a significant societal challenge that has implications for sustainable development, well-being, and human dignity.  Air Matters responds to this challenge with newly-commissioned artworks, walking tours, workshops and a symposium. It brings together artists, community groups, environmental scientists, industry professionals and scholars in order to connect diverse approaches and produce fresh thought. It is aimed at all those who have a stake in the neighbourhood’s environment and for whom art is a gateway to its discovery and transformation. 


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Ascending Composition 1 (For planes)

Kate Carr
3 October 2019 – 5 January 2020

Ascending Composition 1 (For planes) is a mixed media art work commisioned by Watermans Gallery for their group-show and supported by Forma. 

The airspace surrounding Heathrow is partitioned both vertically and horizontally. Ascending Composition 1 (For planes) seeks to reflect on the governance of this space by using sound to infiltrate its forbidden zones. Working with the conception of the air as a contested space, this art work inverts the relationship of residents subject to the vagaries of aircraft noise by using helium balloons and kite tail sound systems to take the terrestrial sounds of Heathrow’s neighbourhoods into the sky. The three kite tail sound systems shuffle through recordings taken in residential and natural areas surrounding the airport, creating a shifting soundscape intended for broadcast along the flight path. In a world where both who gets to make noise and enjoy silence is so tied to wealth and corporate influence, this work seeks to carve out a moment where forgotten, over-powered and fragile sounds take flight. The composition is broadcast via the balloon-elevated kite tails in Waterman's gallery.


Air Matters: Learning from Heathrow forms an exhibition and programme of events that explores the politics of air. Focusing on the neighbourhood of Heathrow, it seeks to engage with the air’s materiality, occupation, and contestation, as well as with the potential and limitations of representing these themes by means of art.

For some, the air is a hyper-modern space of networks and travel. For others, it is what they must breathe. Such diverse  requirements within a single neighbourhood creates a significant societal challenge that has implications for sustainable development, well-being, and human dignity.  Air Matters responds to this challenge with newly-commissioned artworks, walking tours, workshops and a symposium. It brings together artists, community groups, environmental scientists, industry professionals and scholars in order to connect diverse approaches and produce fresh thought. It is aimed at all those who have a stake in the neighbourhood’s environment and for whom art is a gateway to its discovery and transformation. 

  • 3 October 2019 – 5 January 2020

    Many thanks to Watermans gallery for the invitation to collaborate on this commission.

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Image credits:

Hermione Spriggs and Laura Cooper. Photo. Nick Ferguson

Kate Carr. 2019. Ascending Composition. Installation View Watermans

Magz. Hall 2019. Skyport. Skyport Radio Archive image. Photograph Mark Aston