Sounds Of The West Terrace

Last updated : 19 January 2012 By Herbert Art Gallery

Try to imagine what it would be like to experience the last few games Coventry City Football Club played at the hallowed Highfield Road Football Ground.

In association with the 'From Highfield Road to Wembley Way' exhibition at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, sound artist Duncan Whitley wants to produce a limited edition CD and digital download which contains highlights from the recorded soundscapes of the last 10 competitive matches at Highfield Road prior to Coventry City Football Club's move to the Ricoh Arena

Recorded in the West Terrace part of Highfield Road using binaural recording techniques, which uses two small microphones placed in, or near, the ears of the sound recordist, Whitley's sonic document creates a vivid sense of the space in which the recordings were made. Listeners can often detect sounds coming from all directions, including from above and behind.

Only 500 limited edition CDs will be produced, creating a unique historical record of for all football fans and audiophiles. Each CD will be signed and numbered by the artist.

Highfield Road stadium was home to Coventry City FC for some 106 years, from 1899 to 2005. It was located on Kings Street in the Hillfields area of Coventry, an area heavily bombed during World War II.

Although Highfield Road was not the prettiest stadium and was somewhat lacking in facilities by comparison with modern stadiums, it was well-loved by the Sky Blue faithful for its character. The short walk to the ground from the Pool Meadow bus station on match days will be recalled fondly by generations of supporters. Over the years, the East and West Stands gained a reputation as the singing areas of the ground and, it is from the perspective of the West Terrace that the recordings were captured.

The Artist

Duncan Whitley works with sound recording, archive and large-scale sound installation. His projects often explore the medium of recorded sound as aural history; positing sound as a valid and powerful form of representation alongside film, photography and painting.

About the From Highfield Road to Wembley Way project:

'The chanting at football grounds is often misleadingly described as just 'noise'. The connotations of 'crowd noise' as a shapeless and meaningless sound belittle the emotive power of football chant; and underplay its importance as a collective expression of belonging and identity. A kind of folk activity, the ritual singing in football stadiums makes tangible a sense of place, a historical lineage and inheritance; it is a site for memory.'

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