Songsmith (Bangor City)

Public interactive sound installation
Various dimensions
Copper, resin, sound

Songsmith is a trade mark of Jenna Burchell

Songsmith (Bangor City) is part of Burchell’s greater Songsmith project consisting of a series of sound instruments embedded into places and objects chosen for their age long histories and rich narratives. The Songsmith project explores how to re-connect people to each other and to the world around them by activating the exquisite cracks, places and objects that narrate the beauty of life lived.

The Songsmith project is unfolding over time in different objects, places and countries. Artist Jenna Burchell shaped the word Songsmith (n. v.phr.) in her practice to refer to a golden instrument that she uses to repair or transform an object or place in order to reveal an aural narrative. In creating a Songsmith artwork Burchell follows a method based on the Japanese art and philosophy of Kintsukuroi; this is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold lacquer, and in so doing the acknowledging that piece is more beautiful for having been broken and showing it’s time-worn history. The artist borrows from Kintsukuroi both visually and philosophically to allude to the passing of time in her work. Concurrently the songsmith repair has a functional reason; by forging a songsmith into an object or place it becomes a sensor. It is because of this that Burchell is able to create an interactive archive, holding within a song of time and memory: a song that can be revealed when the audience bring their hands near to the Songsmith artwork.
“I relate my Songsmith artworks to ritualistic, artefacts of modern storytelling; they allow me to reveal hidden landscapes of knowledge, experience and memory to new audiences. I feel that a completed Songsmith’s beauty lies in its fluency between; the real world and digital technology, storytelling and people, contemporary art and untold history”  - Jenna Burchell


Songsmith (Bangor City) repairs three sites in Bangor City, Wales, namely: Bangor Cathedral’s fractured boundary wall, Garth Pier’s thirteen missing pavilion shingles and a cracked retaining wall at Bangor University.  Their song is generated from the stories of the everyday citizens who navigate their understanding of home, land, memory and culture in relation to each site.  These sounds were captured during Burchell’s month long residency in Bangor city during which she inhabited each site. Soundscapes are activated by QR codes allowing each viewer to listen to the soundscapes on their smartphone. View the official website for Songsmith (Bangor City) by visiting 

You can listen to each songsmith and find out more about their history and contributors by clicking on the links below:

1. Bangor University Songsmith
2. Garth Pier Songsmith
3. Bangor Cathedral Songsmith

Songsmith (Bangor City) was commissioned by Soundlands and was sponsored by Arts Council Wales, The National Lottery, Bangor Cathedral, Bangor University, City of Bangor Council and Ross S Morgan. Audio was created in collaboration with Alex Baily. A special thanks to all the community contributers to this project.

Songsmith (Bangor City),  installation | 2015
Songsmith (Cradle of Humankind) collection | 2016 - 2017
Songsmith (Yorkshire Sculpture Park) installation | 2017
Songsmith (The Great Karoo) collection | 2017 -2018
Songsmith (Fragile Homes),  collection | 2018 - 
Songsmith (Vredefort Dome),  collection | upcoming