Businesses urged to pledge £1,000 a voice to be part of UK’s only civic aural artwork | Pertemps

May 10, 2022

A corporate sponsorship programme has been launched to enable businesses to be part of Birmingham’s most ambitious civic art project yet.

L-R Glyn Pitchford, Chair of Birmingham Big Art Project, Carmen Watson, Chair of Pertemps Network Group and Mike Ward, Chair of Birmingham Big Art Foundation

Station Clock, which is being delivered by the Birmingham Big Art Project and Turner Prize-winning sound sculptor Susan Philipsz, incorporates a unique sonic element called Twelve Tones.

Featuring 1092 voices from across the Greater Birmingham region, each of which represents the 12 digits of the numerical clock, using the 12 tones of the Chromatic musical scale, Twelve Tones will form a key part of the artwork that will be located at Curzon Street station, fronting the entrance to the HS2 terminal building.

Now as preparations to resume voice recordings for the Twelve Tones element are underway for early autumn  – after halting sessions in March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic – the Birmingham Big Art Project has launched a limited corporate sponsorship opportunity, offering businesses the chance to participate in the final 24 hours of the seven-day loop. 

There will be 133 slots available at £1000 per slot in this final 24 hours and businesses can buy one or more slots.

Recruitment giant Pertemps, which has been a long-term supporter of ‘Station Clock’ jumped at the chance with Tim Watts, lifetime president of the Pertemps Network, writing a cheque for £10,000 to enable ten members of staff to take part.

Glyn Pitchford, chair of the Birmingham Big Art Project, said: “Before we had to stop in March last year, we had recorded 660 voices, with participants from across schools, community organisations and choirs, with ages ranging from four to 94.
“Now we are able to resume recordings at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire for this unique sound sculpture, I’m thrilled that Pertemps, which is already a huge supporter of the project, has secured its recording slot by donating £10,000 for the privilege of being part of it.”
Mike Ward, chair of the Birmingham Big Art Foundation, thanked Pertemps for its support, adding: “I hope others from the business community will add their support by pledging their voices in the final 133 singing slots.  It would be a unique way for a company to mark a special anniversary or milestone, a superb retirement gift or even a staff reward.”
Carmen Watson, chair of Pertemps Network Group, said: “Birmingham has always been known for its cultural heritage and artistic excellence and it’s an honour for us to be a part of history in the making, especially in the city where Pertemps was founded 60 years ago by Constance Watts, Tim’s mother. 
“The regeneration of the Old Curzon Street Station will bring jobs, homes and opportunities to the West Midlands community.
“Family values underpin everything Pertemps does. It’s great to be able to support our local community to help protect, support and strengthen community relations within the bustling city of Birmingham.”

Every participant sings a tone, rather than words and once all 1092 voices have been recorded, they will be digitally manipulated and sequenced by Susan Philipsz.  This will produce a different vocal combination to be heard in unison, harmony and dissonance, on the hour, every hour in a seven-day loop.  

For more information about corporate sponsorship, contact Dominga Devitt, Project Director, Birmingham Big Art Project on domingabbap@gmail.com.