Monument (Three Sisters)

Research output: Non-textual formComposition


Composition - Monument (Three Sisters):

Aims and Context

Monument is the second collaboration between Adam Melvin and the Juice vocal trio, following 2006’s Three Glimpses; once again, seemingly fleeting prompts via the vehicle of a (female) vocal trio are used to explore the manipulation of time and space, site and sound. Essentially, a ‘virtual’ vocal trio, Monument aims to advance installation practices using ultrasonic ‘audio spotlight’ technologies within a public space.

Methodology and Findings

Ultrasonic speakers are used to diffuse a three-part vocal composition (one singer per speaker). Set to fragments of text drawn from eavesdropped conversations, the musical material of each voice seems both familiar and elusive. Each ‘singer’ presents a self-contained, intimate, yet incomplete performance; at particular moments, each voice also seems to be singing part of the same musical work. Because of the restricted field of each speaker, the audience is prevented from hearing all three voices simultaneously. Meanwhile, each ‘singer’ is heard against the backdrop of a more conventional multi-channel soundscape incorporating recordings of the singers practicing and rehearsing their parts along with field recordings (taken from the same city location at various points in the day).

The simultaneous layers of the soundscape, made stable by their generic urban identity, contrast with the more fractured vocal material, resulting in a piece that exists in a concurrent state of flux and stasis. By exposing its inner workings as its performative language, the work embodies Umberto Eco’s concept of the ‘work in movement’, becoming a monument to memory, evanescence and even to itself. Since the audience can only experience the installation in part at any given interaction, they are compelled to decipher their own meanings through individual perception and memory.


Monument was premiered at Derry’s Garden of Reflection for ISSTA, September 2016 and exhibited at Galerie Yoko Uhoda, Liège, Belgium, November 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCity of Derry~Londonderry
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Sept 2016
EventMonument (Three Sisters) - Garden of Reflection, Derry
Duration: 7 Sept 201612 Sept 2016


  • Sound
  • Space
  • Installation
  • Audiospotlight
  • ultrasonic
  • interactive
  • memory
  • Juice vocal trio


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