Tuesday Talks - Rob Mackay

Tuesday Talks - Rob Mackay


Robert A. Mackay discusses his work in relation to themes of Environment | Landscape, as part of the Peter Scott Galley & Fine Art Department's Tuesday Talks series.


Resounding Mulgrave, a sound-work made in collaboration with John Wedgwood Clarke and Tariq Emam, is displayed in the exhibition which accompanies the Tuesday Talks. The exhibition and talks are part of a wider programme of exhibitions, events and knowledge-exchange in the Peter Scott Gallery, titled Change & Interchange.

Please visit Change & Interchange for a full programme.

Resounding Mulgrave


Resounding Mulgrave explores the post-industrial landscape of Port Mulgrave, north of Scarborough, UK. It was one of three artistic interventions exploring and reinterpreting the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough (created by the father of modern Geology, William Smith). It was commissioned by Scarborough Museums Trust as part of the Dictionary Stone project curated by Lara Goodband, and supported by Arts Council, England.

The work was a collaboration between poet John Wedgwood Clarke and sound artist Rob Mackay, with technical and artistic support from Tariq Emam (video/performance).

‘There’s a fossil shell by my foot the colour and texture of grey opaque glass, perfectly moulded, complete with a scallop’s bow and ridges. Right next to it, but 183 million years later, there’s a limpet. The gap in time between the two doesn’t seem to exist, but I know that it does.’ (John Wedgwood Clarke)

This awareness of the silent, pre-human gap between our present and geological past motivated our exploration of the coast between Port Mulgrave and Staithes. We used words and sound, both found and structured, to play within this silence and make connections between the ‘pastoral’, the ‘sublime’, and the history that has flowed from the smelting of the ironstone for which this stretch of the North Yorkshire coast is geologically famous.

Robert A. Mackay


Rob Mackay is a composer, sound artist and performer. He gained a degree in Geology and Music at the University of Keele, studying composition there with Mike Vaughan, before going on to complete a Master's and PhD with Andrew Lewis at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Rob’s main area of research is in electroacoustic composition and sound art. Recent projects have moved towards a cross-disciplinary approach, including theatre, audio/visual installation work, and human/computer interaction. His work has received over 140 performances in 16 countries (including several performances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 1).

He has held composer residencies at Slovak Radio (Bratislava), La Muse en Circuit (Paris), the Tyrone Guthrie Arts Centre (Ireland), and Habitación del Ruido (Mexico City).

He has played, written and produced in a number of bands including the Welsh Hip-Hop collective Tystion with whom he collaborated alongside John Cale on the film A Beautiful Mistake (Film 4), as well as recording two John Peel sessions on BBC Radio 1 and supporting PJ Harvey. The band have a chapter devoted to them in Sarah Hill's book 'Blerwytirhwng?' The Place of Welsh Pop Music (Ashgate 2007).

More recently, he has done session work for Super Furry Animals producer Gorwel Owen, songwriter Euros Childs, and is enjoying playing in the Welsh Afrobeat collective Drymbago, supporting Quantic at a recent gig.

He is currently collaborating with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie on the Ruskin Rocks project, led by a team of scientists and musicians at Leeds University who have created two new stone instruments (lithophones).