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Stream the Museum Suite:

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Download the Museum Suite:

Download the Museum Suite in MP3 format (26 minutes).

High quality (192kbps, 23MB)
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Instructions for listening:

The Museum Suite is designed to be downloaded to your MP3 player and listened to on headphones while walking around any or all of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Grant Museum of Zoology and the UCL Art Collections.

You are invited to decide upon your own starting point and route. The Museum Suite lasts for 26 minutes. All three of these public museums are open on weekday afternoons from 1 - 5 pm with the Petrie Museum also opening from 11am - 2pm on Saturdays.

About the Museum Suite:

Text by Simon Gould, Contemporary Projects Curator for UCL Museums & Collections

Duncan McAfee's artistic practice has always involved reconsidering traditional forms. Previously he has looked at 'the joke', 'the classroom', 'the archive' and 'the pop song'. Each time he has deconstructed these cultural concepts and interpreted them in some new revealing way. Most commonly his responses are as publications or as sound works. It was with this in mind that I invited Duncan to reconsider the 'audio guide', a form I had been considering for some time as another way to introduce UCL's remarkable museums - The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, the Grant Museum of Zoology and the UCL Art Collections housed in the Strang Print Room - to new visitors.

We are increasingly familiar with the sometimes interesting but all too often passive experience of being directed toward a particular museum object or painting and then being told through headphones why this object is so interesting, impressive or expensive. While this has an obvious appeal, the brief for this project was more about trying to create an audio complement to the UCL museum spaces, the histories they embody and the spirit in which they were created as teaching museums. We wanted to re-envisage the audio guide to empower the listener with a sense of wonder and exploration. Duncan wanted specifically to create an active listening experience that would emulate the inspirational setting of the museums in a place of learning and imagination.

The Museum Suite is the result of Duncan's tours of the museums and his time spent talking to the curators and visitors. It is primarily a musical response interspersed with the spoken word. There is no geographical route by which the listener is directed, instead the piece is there to encourage the listener to find their own route, to stimulate that urge to look further, to keep opening drawers or to imagine the life of the objects before they entered the museum. Duncan overlays and reveals musical layers, often using poly rhythm and poly-meter, reflecting the delicately woven, multi faceted nature of the collections, animating, even dramatising their contents and histories.

While in some ways The Museum Suite could be listened to anywhere, it was created in the UCL Museums where it found its own inspiration and it now encourages you to do the same.