Sound art brings Britannia Panopticon’s history to life

An art installation that explores the history of a city building is taking place this weekend to mark the last days of a free festival celebrating Glasgow’s architecture.

Pickard’s Ghost is a sound art installation at the world’s oldest music hall, the Britannia Panopticon, created by artist and composer Adam Stearns.

The exhibition is taking place over the last few days of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival, which is running until Sunday.

It’s inspired by the Panopticon’s eccentric manager from 1906 to 1938, A.E. Pickard.

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Glasgow Times: Gordon TerrisGordon Terris

Glasgow Times: Gordon TerrisGordon Terris

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The artist has created three automatons to pay homage to the eclectic line-ups Pickard curated in his years as proprietor.

The first display is a fully mechanised music ensemble, followed by a hypnotic trance machine inspired by an illusionist who performed at the Panopticon in 1897, Dr Walford Bodie.

The third and final display involves a moving sculpture of dancing clogs.

The sound art project created by Adam uses an unusual medium to tell the story of a Glasgow building with historical importance and captures the ethos of the Doors Open festival.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: Gordon TerrisGordon Terris

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Adam told the Glasgow Times: “I am a big believer in free access to arts and free access to buildings.

“I think there’s a lot of buildings in Glasgow that we don’t realise exist and festivals like Glasgow Doors Open Days really helps to spread the word about maintaining these buildings, preserving them, making sure that they’re not demolished.

“Festivals like this really help to solidify these buildings as being culturally important and containing heritage that needs to be maintained and preserved.”

The Doors Open Days festival is an annual event with a programme of over 100 historic buildings around Glasgow that people can enter for free.

For more information about the festival, visit

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