The Art Station is partnering with Saxmundham Museum and BT Adastral Park to celebrate the historical significance of the 1950s former BT telephone exchange and post office building that serves as their current home. The project will open the original exchange rooms and equipment to the public for the first time alongside contextual archival materials and artefacts. Digital artist Henry Driver will also be displaying his work Secrets of Soil within the space, providing a unique creative response to the developing technology of communication.
This collaborative project invites the community to observe and engage with its rich history as a hub of connectivity for the East Suffolk coast. The building at 48 High Street Saxmundham is an iconic example of 1950s industrial architecture – designed by Thomas Winterburn, one of the ten post office architects associated with the Festival of Britain movement, it functioned as a busy working post office and telephone exchange until the 1970s.
Over two weekends, we are opening the original Saxmundham Telephone Exchange rooms and equipment to the public for the first time alongside contextual archival materials and artefacts. Saxmundham Museum and BT Adastral Park have kindly provided access to their rich archives of resources to provide context and information about the now obsolete technology in the exchange, and the significant development of communications equipment over the following years.
Come along and experience the heritage of the exchange between 12-4pm on Saturday 18 September and 12-4pm on Saturday 25 September at 48 High Street, Saxmundham IP17 1AB.Book Tickets
Digital artist Henry Driver will be displaying work within the space, including the trailer for his interactive work Secrets of Soil alongside pieces from The Mimic – providing a unique creative response to the developing technology of communication.
The Mimic series is inspired by industrial architecture and nature, with the first work in the series being developed during a graduate residency at Norwich shoe factory for the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, Norwich. New entries were then created during Henry’s time on alt.barbican, an incubator for innovative tech artists. Artworks in the Mimic series have been shown globally in Montreal, Seoul, London (Barbican), Taipei, Yokohama and Montemor-o-Velho.
Henry Driver is a young artist based in Suffolk. He has shown work across the world in Japan, Canada, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, South Korea, India, and Taiwan. While in the UK, Driver has shown at Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Barbican and The Whitechapel Gallery.
Oral historian Belinda Moore is interviewing former employees and capturing their stories. The Art Station are excited to share the heritage of this iconic building and reintroduce the long held spirit of communication back to the local community.
Get in touch if you have a story about Saxmundham telephone exchange.
Art Station Film is a new monthly film event showing artists’ film and moving image, programmed by filmmaker Emily Richardson in conjunction with exhibitions in the gallery.
This month’s Art Station Film on Friday 24th September at 7.30pm will feature a special 16mm screening of Telephone Films from the archive of David Leister and artists’ films reflecting on the nature of communication technologies to coincide with the opening of the Saxmundham telephone exchange housed in the Art Station building.
To find out more and book your FREE place email: [email protected]
Sound artist Loula Yorke will be running hands-on workshops with local students to engage with analogue and digital technologies associated with the equipment used at the exchange.
Loula Yorke is an award-winning composer and live synthesist who uses electronics and participation to create noisy artworks. Yorke has played live in support of The Orb and Talvin Singh, had radio play on BBC Radio 3 and BBC1 XTRA, and had her music covered by DJ Mag, The Wire and Bandcamp Daily. Yorke runs participatory synth-building and performance workshops Atari Punk Girls. She has been commissioned by SPILL Festival of Performance to develop the concept into a staged show for their 2021 iteration, funded by Arts Council England .
Saxmundham Telephone Exchange will be opening to coincide with Heritage Open Days 2021, with weekend openings on 12-4pm Saturday 18 September and 12-4pm Saturday 25 September at 48 High Street, Saxmundham IP17 1AB.
This exhibition has been made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.