Sarah Coulson - Interview
Site/Public Works Water
Video Installations Sound Performance

the MAAStricht Hydrophonic sound Fountain

Locke has extended earlier research, designing a permanent Hydrophonic Sound Fountain for the International school of Governance at the University Of Maastricht. For this site-specific work, the artist recorded student voices and sounds from the environment around the building.

These sounds were processed and combined within synthesised tracks, which are amplified through the surface of the water to create waveforms and fountains. This sculpture was completed in

September 2007 and opened in November 2007. Hydrophonics is essentially about revealing the invisible – showing or involving spectators in something that they cannot normally see. “Site specificy has always played a role within my work. Projects take inspiration from a place or environment. Exploring the history of a site, a city and thoughtful analysis of environments, atmospheres, buildings and people. These are processes, which form a major part of my practice.

The Maastricht project is no exception. During several visits I spent days walking around the city. I recorded sound samples and spent a good deal of time sitting with and contemplating my proposed site. Meetings and conversations with Jos Kramer, the architect and designer of the new building gave me an insight into his concepts and ideas for extended themes within the new school and informed my designs for the fountains. Students from all over the world enrol to study at the School of Governance in Maastricht. I recorded interviews with them, asking them for descriptions of their experiences in their own countries and what they missed about their home. I made compositions using the student’s voices and sent them through water to make fountains’.

The artist’s original designs for the sound tanks had to be modified extensively to work permanently in a public space and to ensure that they are simple to operate.

Main developments to the new Hydrophonic designs mean that the level of sound generated has been minimized and the detail on the water’s surface has been enhanced. The results mean that the work is less intrusive in a space. The fountains can run silently most of the time, but various options are available to increase volume and to use different sound tracks for different occasions. (see also the Sound and Waterworks sections of the website for different images and information)