First student-run exhibition to open at King’s Museum

The first student-produced exhibition to take place at the University of Aberdeen’s newest museum opens to the public on Tuesday (June 7).

‘Sounded Bodies’ is curated by students taking a new taught postgraduate course and is a collaborative venture between the departments of Anthropology, Film & Visual Culture and History of Art that gives students the opportunity to become involved in every aspect of producing an exhibition

This work included researching the topic, selecting objects from the University’s collections, designing the layout, writing labels and marketing the event, to run at King’s Museum.

The student group’s project manager Sarah Ainslie said: “This was a great opportunity to combine academic and practical skills in one course, and to work with a range of people from across the University”.

The ‘Sounded Bodies’ exhibition investigates the effects that sound has on human beings and explores the idea that we are immersed in sound. Sarah added: “We have been thinking about bodies being places where sound is not only heard, but also produced when our heart beats, our veins pulse, our lungs resonate and our feet tap. At the same time, sound is part of our environment that we often ignore but in which we are always deeply immersed”.

The objects on display are chosen from a variety of the University's extensive collections, including musical instruments, ethnographic items, scientific instruments and anatomical models. Visitors can explore fascinating objects that are normally used only for teaching and research, including a large-scale model ear used in anatomy teaching and a percussion pistol fired at wedding ceremonies in Aberdeenshire in the 18th and 19th centuries to drive away evil spirits.

Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to listen to the sounds of their own bodies using a stethoscope and monitor the noises they produce by way of an interactive spectrogram, as well as listening to a specially commissioned sound installation by renowned electro-acoustic composer Professor Pete Stollery and PhD music student Ross Whyte, and an original short video by postgraduate Visual Culture student Irene Jiménez.

Neil Curtis, Head of Museums at the University of Aberdeen said, “I have been very impressed by the way that the students have brought together some intriguing ideas with objects from the collections. “They have discovered how the process of putting together an exhibition is very challenging, but have managed to present an excellent exhibition that is well worth visiting.”

‘Sounded Bodies’ in King’s Museum is open free to the public from Tuesday June 7 until Saturday August 13.