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ideas | prototypes | film | sound | interactive | other stuff

Water Piano for Dulverton Hight Street

A simple, noisy, intervention on Dulverton Hight Street provided an opportunity for passers-by to create music on a water piano. By dipping your finger into a bucket of water a piano chord if played. The piece was made using a MakeyMakey board, bell wire, crocodile clips and 12 buckets of water.

This sound-work was made as part of Richard’s role as Creative Technologist working on Ignite Somerset, a project managed by Somerset Film and funded by Arts Council England.

Soundscape for Wells Cathedral

This sound-work was prepared for ‘Wake Up Wells Community Day’ and located in The Lady Chapel at Wells Cathedral.

The brief was to record: the voices of the community, the sounds of the city and the unique atmosphere within the Cathedral. The piece features a collage of sounds including: the voices of local people, choristers rehearsing, chimes, echoing footsteps and the movement of people within the hallowed, yet busy, space.

This sound-work was made as part of Richard’s role as Creative Technologist working on Ignite Somerset, a project managed by Somerset Film and funded by Arts Council England.

Remembering  Ninesprings Country Park

Commissioned by South Somerset District Council and managed by Somerset Film, the brief was to record the memories of local residents.

Ninesprings is now part of the South Somerset Country Park and features a peaceful network of pathways, waterways and the Riverside walk, but this wasn’t always the case. These stories evoke a past of: bustling industry , steam engines running through to the gloving factories and the excitement of the annual circus.

These audio recordings are installed on a listening station located at Ninesprings cafe.

Community Triptych Commissioned by South Petherton Community Hospital

Community Triptych

Commissioned by South Petherton Community Hospital

Commissioned as a permanent artwork to mark the opening of a brand new community hospital in South Somerset.

The piece was produced by local young people working with photographer and digital image maker Richard Tomlinson. The piece combines ‘found’ photographs of South Petherton from the 1900s to the 1980s. Participants commented on how the location hadn’t changed that much in 100 years but couldn’t believe the how fashions had changed, one participant commenting:

“all the men, and even the boys, are wearing shirts and ties just to go down to the shops!”

The artwork also includes images of old post cards, letters and maps in addition to contemporary images made by the participants.

New Dimensions

Contemporary Art Inspired by Hidden Objects

New Dimensions project arose from a realisation that the public rarely sees the vast majority of artifacts in the storerooms of the Somerset Heritage Centre. Thousands of items, from ancient books to early twentieth century machinery and Bronze Age tools, are preserved there under the care of specialist curators and archivists.

Richard Tomlinson, alongside artists Jenny Graham, Chris Dunseath, Jacy Wall and poet Ralph Hoyte worked closely with the curators to investigate the storerooms and create contemporary artworks in response. The artists pushed the boundaries of their practice to explore new ways of working and new ways to interpret the collections.

Richard Tomlinson produced work inspired by the Machine Stores at The Heritage Centre. A wide range of machines, both large and small, were photographed including apparatus for: farming, industry, transportation and domestic use. In some cases the purpose and origin of the machine depicted is evident within the photograph. Some photographs feature a plaque or hand painted motif describing where in Somerset the machine was manufactured. Other photographs are more abstract in nature, focusing in on shapes, patterns and textures.

Elements of these photographs were then digitally amalgamated to create/invent images of fictitious machines. A creative process of re-imagining and re-animating the technology of the past into fantastical digital compositions.

These images were printed as large format transparencies and placed within archive boxes. Th boxes were then fitted with anaglyph lenses (Cyan and Magenta filters). Visitors to the exhibition were be able to peek inside the boxes and see a miniature machines in 3 dimensions.

A 3 dimensional moving image sequence (link) was also produced using ‘After Effects’.

Sound for Spaces

Collaborative work with musician and artist Michael Fairfax

Sound for Spaces provided an opportunity to shoot three short films with Michael that explored the innate acoustics within two locations, the (then) derelict Red Brick Building in Glastonbury and Banwell Caves in North Somerset.

Michael is a public artist, sculptor and designer of musical instruments. This opportunity brought together Michael, his musical instruments, a special location and filmmaker Richard Tomlinson. Special attention was needed to ensure the correct positioning of microphones within each space. 

These films were made as part of Richard’s role as Creative Technologist working on the on Ignite Somerset, a project managed by Somerset Film and funded by Arts Council England.

Glass – Jenna’s Story

A short film about a young woman called Jenna who visited Actiontrack Performance Company and recorded an amazing song called ‘Glass’

Commissioned by Actiontrack and Take Art in 2021

Circus Around and About

A film commissioned by Crying Out Loud and Take Art in 2021.

Question Time

Earlier this year I was thrilled to be asked to produce a music-video to accompany ‘Question Time’, a song from the new album ‘While You Still Can’ by Vinny Peculiar.

Question Time is a story song of sorts, a missing politician, the songs narrator under suspicion. Glastonbury performer Katherine Ashworth played the part of a politician appearing on Question Time with impressive red finger nails.

We shot the piece over just two days in October!

More on Vinny at:


Faces of Conflict

A Video Triptych exhibited at The Museum of Somerset to mark the First World War centenary (exhibited Nov 2018 – March 2019)

Visitors to the exhibition experience an immersive audio-visual installation exploring the legacy of the conflict for Somerset people and the concept of remembrance. The installation features a mix of: Pathe footage, photographs from the stores at The Heritage Centre, letters sent home from the front line and newspaper cuttings.

Faces of Conflict has been produced in partnership with West Somerset College as part of the Adventures in Time project funded by Arts Council England.

Watch the full sequence

The Journey

Commissioned by Art for Life (Taunton and Somerset NHS). This project provided an opportunity for patients on the Children’s Ward of Musgrave Hospital to get creative with stop-frame-animation. Children used a simple stop frame application loaded onto an iPad. The portable nature of the project made it more accessible, the activity could literally take place at the patient’s bedside.

The journey is the story of two young children who are parted because one has to go on a long train journey. The traveller encounters all sorts of strange and wonderful worlds through their train window.

South Petherton Newsworld (excerpt)

Children from South Petherton Infant’s School worked together to produce a fantastic documentary film about their village. Get an insight into the sensory garden, find out about local shops, and discover what teachers are really thinking about.

The children had a great time producing this film. Participants as young as seven years old learnt about green screen filming, acting for camera and editing.

Bluetonium (excerpt)

A short sci-fi film made with children and young people in Bridgwater.

A radio broadcast alerts residents of strange lights appearing in the sky. The following day an explosion in the school yard shakes the pupils awake. The pupils, led by Mr Bude, go out to investigate. They see the massive crater and “foolish Mr Bude” touches the blue gooey stuff, here the adventure begins.

A project that gave participants an insight into the filmmaking process, from honing their acting skills to shooting a scene. Facilitated by Richard Tomlinson and managed by Somerset Film.

Two examples of multimedia projects produced by Richard working with communities as part of the Ignite Somerset project, an initiative funded by Arts Council England and managed by Somerset Film.

‘Belonging’ is an interactive digital sound piece featuring spoken word recordings that explore what it is to ‘Belong’ to a community. Click/tap on the shapes to hear voices, click/tap on the screen to play other sounds.

‘Digital Wireless’ was made with patients at Williton Community Hospital. The idea was to produce a work of digital art that provided participants with an opportunity to record personal stories and explore the creative potential of digital media.

© 2022 Richard Tomlinson
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