Aswarm (Ltd) is a transformative public arts company based in the UK.
Lead by Artist & Sound Designer : Thor McIntyre-Burnie.
We specialise in site-specific and immersive work, using sound and other sculptural & AV elements to subtly alter our experience of architecture, public space and performance. Our projects range from solo artist works to full production teams, drawing on a tight team of specialists and network of professionals.
What is an aswarm work?: A Bandstand may be re-awakened as an ear to a historic mound of earth; an exploded orchestra re-activates a victorian mill; a flock of speakers occupy a square, providing a means to walk within the Twittersphere; a derelict piers starling bird colony becomes a touring Ghost Roost; A forgotten Wind Tunnel becomes a quasi religious experience; a Lift a musical playback device & place to play synesthetic twister; a pile of rubble an instrument to re-work Rites of Spring.
Thor: ” In the image above I am (as often as not) working on location, recording a choir of male voices, created from men who used to work at the grade 1 listed Farnborough wind tunnels. I had gathered them there to sing in-situ, utilising the incredible acoustics of this forgotten place, so that we could fill this stark temple to futurism with a human vocal breath.”
Who is behind Aswarm:
Aswarm works in collaboration with a small team of creative professionals and a wider network of artists , makers, designers and performers. The team includes:
- Thor McIntyre-Burnie Aswarm’s Artistic Director
- Chloe Osborne (specialising Theatre & public outreach & producing);
- Toby Jarvis (Artist Sculptor & prop maker);
- Martin King (Electrical Engineer and super-tech-geek).
- Olly Aylmer (Composer & music producer);
The Wider team includes:
- Andrew Siddal (PM a& Production Designer/maker);
- Jeroen Van-Dooren (Artist Maker);
- Jack Wood (Maker);
- Paschale Straiton (Performer & Theatre Director)
- Dave Wah (Sound Engineer)
- Duncan Whitley ( Sound Recording Artist)
- Lori Etienne ( Seamstress & Costume)
- Roger Hartley (director of Bureau of Silly Ideas)
- The Artchivists of Brixton (Collective of Artists & Craftmakers incl: Lighting & Projection Map designers, Upholstery/Seamstress, Metal worker, woodworkers and makers)
“As an artist I want to re-awaken spaces and create scenarios where people feel intrigued to re-explore and re-imagine our relationship with an environment, questioning what we want from public space and the pervasive AV media in our midst. – Sound can both play with a space and coax ‘us’ into playing with ‘it’… And as such sound plays an integral part of my practice, but it is the relationship between invisible sound and the tangible physical realm that underpins much of my work.”
Sound Design: As well as practicing as an Artist, Thor has also built a breadth of experience working as a Sound Designer, especially in site-specific performance, theatre and dance.
“The image above is that fantastic intense moment, at the helm with TWF, minutes before an audience of 10,000 people discover what it’s like to be truly surrounded by fire, sound and light in ‘Crackers’ – the closing event of Singapore arts festival. – The result of 2 weeks of intensive onsite build, about to go up in 28mins of tightly choreographed yet live, exhilarating mayhem…”
There is nothing like site-specific work to challenge your abilities. I draw on both technical know-how and my artistic understanding of space, to listen to what works insitu and as part of a collaborative creative team. You have to adapt and overcome often in new, challenging and time pressured scenarios.
It’s not all been muddy boots & head torch’s though, the European award winning Soundspace which we co-designed in a unique £1.2 million Nesta funded partnership with Dutch firm Northern Light, at Eureka Children’s Museum is a slick interactive exhibition that is still running 15 yrs on!
Arts In Education & Lecturing Posts:
Drawing on our breadth of experience across both these fields we design creative learning spaces and deliver educational projects with schools. And as a postgraduate lecturer Thor regularly teaches in the fields of Communications Design, Architecture, Theatre and Sound Design (Incl: Central St.Martins MA, Birkbeck MA, Brighton University BA, Aachen University (Germany) MA).
PDF Folio: Please get in touch if you would like to receive a more in depth PDF folio.
Video: Vimeo – Some Projects doc’s here. Vimeo also hosts some educational projects making short animations with schools.
FURTHER BACKGROUND INFO: (Artist Statement & Aswarm history):