Beach sounds for the Wellcome Collection

You can’t touch me, you can’t smell me, you can’t taste me, you can’t see me, but you can hear me, and I fill Euston Road with the sound of waves breaking onto pebbles, what am I?

I am a Bill Fontana sound installation commissioned by the Wellcome Collection.

Fontana’s piece will see the sound polluted thoroughfare outside the Wellcome Collection drowned out by the dulcet tones of Dorset’s Chesil Beach.

The Wellcome Trust on London's Euston Road
The Wellcome Trust on London’s Euston Road

A live feed will twin Euston Road with Chesil Beach through White Sound – a sonic landscape designed to challenge our sense of place by dissolving the physical sensation of being in the city through the tidal rhythm of the sea.

Soundwaves will be projected onto the street engulfing pedestrians; knowing the road, this is likely to be commuters, students and street drinkers. 

Dorset's Chesil Beach
Dorset’s Chesil Beach

All background traffic noise will be muted by the soundscape, which seeks to raise questions about our understanding of stillness and movement, in both urban and natural environments. 

Chesil Beach is formed of a unique 18 mile pebble bank, with the Fleet

Lagoon on one side and the sea on the other.

Dorset's Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach

 White Sound: an urban seascape by Bill Fontana runs at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE from 22 September to 16 October 2011.

Hide Comments (4)Show Comments (4)
  • Abigail Vyner November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I can’t wait to hear this. The calmness of the beach meeting fast paced Euston Road – that is going to be something.

    Abi Vyner
    Small Back Room

  • Ruth Lozner November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am


    Thought of you!

    How are you doing?

  • jackielotty November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    To think I get to hear the sound of Chesil Beach every day, it’s not something I take for granted it’s a mood setter for the day. Bliss….

  • jackielotty November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I hope everyone in Euston Road enjoy the sound of Chesil Beach over the next couple of weeks as much as we do at Portland, Enjoy..

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