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Information and resources on 'Materials Library' at Tate Online.
A podcast about materials, science and art

We’re used to looking when we come to galleries, but have you ever wondered what a painting sounds like, or how your sense of touch might change the way you see a work of art? We invited a team from the Materials Library to explore the material nature of art from a scientific and sensory point of view. The result was this podcast, which takes the form of an audio tour of Tate Modern and accompanying short film showing the team in action.

All works are currently on display as of April 2007.

Armed with silly putty, helium balloons and other unlikely
paraphernalia, the team from the Materials Library invite
Tate visitors to get to grips with the stuff of art.
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1) Introduction
Introducing the team from the Materials Library
The team
listen | download (0.7MB)
2) The Hum
Find out what makes the hum in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall
The electricity substation next to the turbine hall
listen | download (1.5MB)
3) From the Inside Out
Experience the sound inside a sculpture
Anish Kapoor, Ishi's Light 2003
listen | download (1.9MB)
4 ) Can you Hear a Painting?
Can hearing change the way you see?
Jean Debuffet, The Exemplary Life of the Soil (Texturology LXIII) 1958
listen | download (2.8MB)
5) Fractals in the Paint
Exploring fractal patterns in Jackson Pollock’s paintings
Jackson Pollock, Summertime: Number 9A 1948
listen | download (2.2MB)
6) 0 – 40Hz
Sounds at the edge of perception
Mark Rothko, Black on Maroon 1958
listen | download (1.4MB)
7) Let me Call you Sweetheart
A serenade for The Handsome Pork-Butcher
The Handsome Pork-Butcher, Francis Picabia, circa 1924-6
listen | download (2.6MB)
8) Press the Flesh
Experiments with flesh in a room full of Bacon
Francis Bacon, Second Version of Triptych 1944, 1988
listen | download (2.6MB)
9) Escalator Music
Composition for a 33 second escalator journey by Greyworld
The escalator at Tate Modern
listen | download (1.0MB)
10) In their Element: Steel
Materials scientist, Dr Mark Miodownik on steel and a materials revolution
Giacomo Balla, Abstract Speed - The Car has Passed 1913
listen | download (2.2MB)
11) In their Element: Carbon
Chemistry lecturer, Dr Andrea Sella discusses the element that made industrialisation possible
Nicholai Troshin, Builders of Socialism, Watch This Great Work Being Carried Out! USSR in Construction for 1931
listen | download (2.2MB)
12) Fast Forward
How rapid prototyping will transform mass production
Andy Warhol, Del Monte 1964
listen | download (2.4MB)
13) Serial Numbers
Professor Marcus Du Sautoy reflects on the mathematics of Minimalism
Carl Andre, Equivalent VIII 1966
listen | download (3.1MB)
14) The Sound of Materials
How pure elements of sounds are altered by changes in materials
Joseph Beuys, Untitled III 1948/1981
listen | download (2.8MB)
15) What’s inside the Can?
The can says it contains the artist’s shit, but does it really?
Piero Manzoni's Artist's Shit
listen | download (4.5MB)
16) The Essence of Fluorescence
The phenomenon that transforms the invisible into the visible
Dan Flavin, Monument for V. Tatlin 1966-9
listen | download (1.7MB)
17) Brick by Brick
The materials that built Tate Modern
The Turbine Hall
listen | download (1.7MB)
18) Signing Off
Find out more about the Materials Library
Materials Library
listen | download (0.5MB)