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Flaxmill Voices: Enjoy the Light Show and Record a Name!
08 Feb 2024

Artist Andy McKeown is putting on a free evening of illuminations at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings tomorrow (Friday, February 9th, 4pm to 7pm) and we’ve been given a sneak peek of what to expect! Picture Credits: Andy McKeown/Wild Strawberry 

Everyone is invited to enjoy the spectacular free illuminations at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings by world renowned light artist Andy McKeown (Friday, February 9th), who will project his ‘Minutiae’ art series onto the side of the historic buildings from 5pm to 7pm. 

You’re also invited to help with Andy’s Flaxmill Voices project - by reading aloud the name of one of the people who used to work there; your contribution will become a piece of community art in a unique exhibition to be installed at the site later in the year. 

The mill exhibition will be open free of charge and the Turned Wood Cafe will be open from 4pm to 7pm for the event, serving a light menu and drinks. The event is free of charge (no need to book).

The side of the Dye House showing Andy's illuminations

Andy McKeown's 'Minutiae' art series will be projected onto the walls at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Everyone who takes part in the recordings will be given a handmade card with their character name on it and asked to read it out, five times, in a special recording booth. Andy is aiming to collect 2,000 names of workers who were previously employed at the Flaxmill. 

“It’s an immersive, distributed soundpiece," Andy says. "I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a whispered piece in the walls. It will be a random drift of different voices. It’ll be fabulous if we can make it properly immersive. People will walk around and hear different collections of names in the Dye House. 

“For me, it’s just the sheer joy of creating massive voicework. I love a mass of voices - where they’re all unique, they’re all individual; they create the piece of work. It’s a community piece. All I do is create a piece of software that plays them.”

Andy's illuminations showing the scaffolding

Fragments of the scaffolding used in the renovations - projected onto the Dye House 

The accompanying light show tomorrow night should hopefully act as a beacon to draw people in, Andy says. “We wave it around and hopefully people will turn up and we can start recording voices. We’ll be showing bits of the 2,840 images of the Flaxmill that I took when it was in its derelict state, before the renovations - what you’ll see is fragments of pictures in continuous, real time montage.

“It’s a massive great grid of fragments that I’m going to wrap around parts of the Dye House. It’s like an infusion of what used to be there for the whole site. It changes colour, indicating the rust and dereliction that was there.”

He’s excited about recording voices in a portable recording booth: “We’ll record as many as we can get, although people will have to do it five times and I’m very picky! It’s not a rush through and gabble, you’ll be getting coached until I get what I want. 

“We recorded 60 in a trial run. If we can get 100 tomorrow I will be absolutely delighted, but we’ll also be coming back on many Friday, Saturdays and Sundays through until September.” 

  • The Flaxmill Voices recording session and light show is at Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings (Friday, February 9th, 4pm to 7pm).
  • You can find more of Andy McKeown’s amazing illuminations at Attingham Park this February, during their late night snowdrop evening walks