Running on Cargo



Sounds Like A Bargain

‘Sounds Like a Bargain’ is a sonic art installation inspired by the Barras Market and created in collaboration between Adam Stearns and music technology pupils from St Mungo’s Academy.

The aim of this project was to introduce a new generation of young people to the Barras market through the medium of sound. During workshops facilitated by Adam Stearns, pupils were invited to take part in a soundwalk of the Barras and were welcomed inside the Barras Market to make field recordings.

In addition, the pupils were given a heritage talk providing them with a history of the Barras Market and were also introduced to microcontroller based physical computing, which was used to create a kinetic sonic sculpture made from objects bought at the market.

Every object that can be purchased from the Barras has a story to tell – and every visit to the Barras is a story in and of itself. Through capturing sonic signatures of the Barras Market – the street seller yelling ‘cigarettes tobacco’, the sound of the antiquated penny arcade machine drawers as they squeak, or the Glaswegian accents of the many merchants – this installation provides a snapshot into this unique cultural landmark.

The artwork comprises five objects purchased from the Barras market – a Russian Jerry can, a WW1 artillery shell, a ceramic dish, a glass vase, and a metal bell. Each object has a solenoid attached to it, which is programmed by an Arduino microcontroller. When struck by the solenoids, these objects provide a rhythmical accompaniment to field recordings of the Barras Market, which play over loudspeakers. As the sculpture starts to come alive, the sounds these objects create begin to resemble the ‘beating heart’ of the Barras.