Stuff & Things


Welcome to our commissions page, where we feature collaborations and bespoke installations, we aim to cater to all requirements. For further information or to discuss your ideas, please contact us.

Enchanted Echoes - Enchanted Parks 2016

Commissioned as part of the Enchanted Parks 2016 programme, ‘Enchanted Echoes’ was written and devised by Nick as a site specific solo project. The theme for this year’s event was Shakespeare, for which inspiration was taken from Macbeth and The Tempest , to produce a soundscape installation that combined the mysteries, audio landscape and intrigue of both plays into an immersive night-time audio feast, where the audience are free to let their imaginations wander.

Alice Through The Letterbox – Talking Post Boxes – audiObscura

Enchanted Parks - Gateshead - December 2015

Commissioned as part of the Enchanted Parks 2015 programme ‘Alice Through The Letterbox’ was our response to their brief to create an installation that imagined Lewis Carroll’s most curious heroine Alice at the age of 20, and place her in the 21st century world of today. Inspired by this theme, and the striking Victorian setting of Saltwell Park in Gateshead, we devised a trail of six talking post boxes in various colours. Each post box was activated by a “Press Me” mushroom switch, and played short spoken sound-files heard as diary or blog entries reflecting the complexities of life for the 20 year old Alice as she plans her ‘Unbirthday’ and wrestles with ideas of what to do with her life. This new adaptation of our existing audiObscura technology, combined with our desire to make the personality of ‘our Alice’ (voiced by International Showgirl Natalya Umanska) into an interactive experience for the public, proved to be very popular with audiences, and our sound installation trail was reckoned to be a big hit at what is predominantly a festival of light. To visit our audiObscura Post Boxes page, please click here.

Highlights for me included the Alice clock tower in the lake, the checkpoint where you are invited to don special glasses to see an array of 3D hearts and the Talking Post Boxes.
David Whetstone – Newcastle Chronicle 

Alice Through The Letterbox at the Enchanted Parks (Light Festival) in Gateshead was intriguing, innovative, and the surprise hit of the week – Stuff & Things really delivered!
Jeremy Shine – Artistic Director, Enchanted Parks.

The Philosophy Shed – audiObscura

FolkEast - Suffolk - August 2014

Originally commissioned by FolkEast 2014, The Philosophy Shed is an engaging and thought provoking sound installation which can transform a humble hut into a window on the world, turn a simple shed into a workshop for the mind. We liked it so much that we’ve added it to our roster of audiObscura installations. Operated with a simple push button, The Philosophy Shed is suitable for any event wishing to create a contemplative corner. Shed design can be plain and uncomplicated, or feature themed décor and artwork, if you have an idea then we will be happy to talk about how we can realise your concept. To visit audiObscura Philosophy Shed page, please click here

We loved the idea of the Philosophy Port-a-loo sound installation, but for our festival we wanted something different. For FolkEast 2014, we asked Stuff and Things to install audio in one of our sheds, to create The Philosophy Shed in the woods. Stuff and Things create imaginative sound installations which can work anywhere to create individual and unique experiences.
Becky Marshall Potter – FolkEast

Laughter 'Media Splash' – audiObscura

Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival - February 2013

We were approached by Big Difference Company (the charity behind Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival) to create a commissioned piece of sound art in 2012. Sponsored by TV channel Dave, the festival is one of the biggest and best comedy festivals in the UK and Big Difference wanted to create a ‘media splash’ stunt for the 2013 festival. The idea was to flood the city-centre streets of Leicester with the sounds of laughter during the early morning commute on the opening day of the festival – all delivered in a guerilla style – and only those who absolutely needed to know would be aware of the event before the day.

The final installations included suspending eight channels of laughter on a listed monument – The Magazine Gateway; putting a varied comic soundscape into drains along 18th century public thoroughfare New Walk; rigging sound in a gigantic London Plane Tree to create a surrealist cuckoo clock; and some laughing post boxes. All of the installations were synchronized to commence operation at 7am and then run for 4 hours. Rigging on ancient buildings and protected structures required that special attention be given to fixing techniques, as well as devising methods to protect our sound equipment in the freezing February weather, and there was much checking of weather forecasts on the run up to February the 8th! It was a great success, and another fine example of how we pride ourselves on our ability to achieve excellence through the use of exotic technologies and innovative sound, combined with meticulous planning and minimal site disturbance.

We had long had dreams of being able to wake up the residents of Leicester to the sound of laughter – something surely to be enjoyed on a dark February morning. The audiObscura sound installation absolutely delivered on our vision. As people travelled in to Leicester City Centre they were greeted by the sound of laughter, in some places intimate, in others loud and brash and celebratory. This was pitch-perfect. Thank you Stuff & Things!
Geoff Rowe, Chief Executive Officer, Big Difference Company

Talking Bus Stops – audiObscura

The Festival of Fools – Belfast – May 2012

The Festival of Fools commissioned audiObscura to highlight the festival in association with their sponsor, Translink. We figured that using our sounder technology to give the bus stops a Fool’s Festival twist was the obvious way ahead.

Following discussions with festival director Will Chamberlain, we configured the technology to optimise audio-delivery through the frames of the bus shelters, and created content which highlighted the Festival of Fools, their association with Translink, and entertained the bus travelling people of Belfast. What we produced were, spoof customer announcements, daft surveys, and ridiculous passenger information announcements, delivered with our usual twist of the absurd.

We were lucky enough to have found a sponsor who wanted to try something a little different at the 2012 Festival of Fools. When we mentioned audiObscura, they couldn’t resist. Stuff & Things created a site specific soundscape which they installed on four bus shelters in the centre of Belfast for the duration of the Festival. It was an inspired move which had me giggling the whole weekend. The subtle announcements which started off sounding like they might be genuine before veering off into a parallel universe of absurdity. Whenever the pressures of running the Festival threatened my mood, I dosed myself up with some audiObscura and chuckled my way through the next couple of hours.
Will Chamberlain, Director, Festival of Fools

Jungle Safari - audiObscura

Larmer Tree Festival – Wiltshire – July 2012

The Larmer Tree Festival commissioned us to create a soundscape artwork for The Laurel Tunnel, a secluded and mysterious area within the festival site. The Laurel Tunnel itself is a permanent feature of Larmer Tree Gardens, which have existed as pleasure gardens since the late 1800s.

Inspired by our travels through the jungles of Central America in the winter of 2010/11 and the rainforest-like atmosphere of The Laurel Tunnel, we created a Jungle Safari soundscape scheduled to run from midday to midnight on each day of the festival (Wednesday to Sunday). The festival is a music and arts festival with a family-friendly vibe, and so we designed the 16 track soundscape to change during the day, being suitable for all the family through the daylight hours and then becoming gradually darker, stranger, and more disconcerting throughout the evening and on towards midnight. The technology we used was battery powered and designed to be totally self-contained and weatherproof – it was one of the wettest Larmer Tree Festivals on record! Jungle has since been presented at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival (2015) and is now available as part of audiObscura. To visit the Jungle page please click here.

The installation in the Laurel Tunnel was perfect for the Festival – the whole area was transformed into a Jungle soundscape of howler monkeys, chattering curacaos and stampeding elephants! We particularly enjoyed the changes of soundscape as the day progressed into evening and surround sound effect and depth of sound was amazing! We were completely immersed! We have received fantastic feedback and would not hesitate to recommend audiObscura again and again!
Becca Clee, Larmer Tree Festival

Larmer Loos – audiObscura

Larmer Tree Festival – Wiltshire – July 2012

The Larmer Tree Festival also commissioned some bespoke content for our audiObscura Port-a-loos. The festival is justly proud of its award-winning festival toilets, and what better way to celebrate that than with absurd customer announcements and nonsense festival facts, along with our usual panoply of Port-a-loo playfulness.

Port-a-Loo Comments

Hysterical, genius idea, thank you.
Annie James

Having a round of applause when you are going to the loo is hysterical!!!
Claire Nunn

Brilliant, another lovely touch to add to the weekend!
Melinda McCheyne

Babbling brooks and classical music to ease the pain! Fab!
Henrietta Fernandez

Was so funny, my daughter thought it was a small elf or pixie.
Becky Borthwick

Made my toilet time much more interesting, I really like the toilet zone.
Sarah Peters

From toilet humour to Festival mis-information the Port-a-loos provided no end of entertainment (and a lot of unexpected surprises too) to our Festival toilets! Brilliantly designed technology along with excellent content from comedy to philosophy gave us the most talked about loos around!
Becca Clee, Larmer Tree Festival

Highly amusing! On Saturday morning I was on stewarding duty by the lower exit from the campervan fields. Some chaps came along with a ladder and started fiddling with the top of one of the port-a-loos, I thought that they were repairing it, but could hear what sounded like a very weird radio station. Then they left, and there was a box on top, which every now and then would start uttering about philosophy or quantum mechanics. Anyway, when people went into that port-a-loo it started chattering at them. Well done to the organisers of that for entertaining me on a damp morning.
Hugh Dalgleish

Love the loos!!! 🙂 xxxxxx
Faith Hancock

Bathing Beauties Benches – audiObscura

Bathing Beauties Festival - Mablethorpe – September 2012

Inspired by seaside holiday nostalgia, and the wide Lincolnshire seascapes, this commission led us to create material for our audiObscura push button bench technology. We added vintage Dutch barrel organ music and Hawaiian ukulele tunes to our existing ‘Experience Bench’ material to bring a surrealist tang to the seafront promenades of Mablethorpe and Sutton-on-Sea. For Bathing Beauties Festival go here and for our audiObscura Benches page please click here.

Listening Trees - Stuff & Things

The Electric Forest - High Lodge - Thetford Forest - December 2012 Festival of Fools - Alnwick Gardens - Northumberland - December 2012

We were commissioned by Culture Creative to produce an installation for ‘The Electric Forest’ at Thetford High Lodge Forest Centre; they were keen to see what our Listening Trees could bring to their night-time illuminated art trail. So we created 3 pieces to compliment the wintery wonderland of light and sound. A pair of pretentious Silver Birch trees spouting poetry, a brace of slightly silly Sycamores endlessly telling each other knock-knock jokes, and a lonesome majestic Oak playing a woodland inspired classical music medley. All experienced by pressing one’s ear to the trunks of the trees as the sound is transmitted through the grain of the living wood. These installations then went on to Culture Creative’s Northumberland Lights festival, hosted this year by Alnwick Garden’s The Festival of Fools (only the technology, taking the trees themselves would have been too much effort!) To complete the run on December 30th. For our audiObscura Trees page please click here.

In presenting Electric Forest we are always looking for something new to do in amongst our visual and audio installations, and ‘Listening Trees’ were certainly an excellent addition to our illuminated trail, and they generated an excellent response from the audience – thank you Stuff & Things.
Zoe Bottrell – Director of Culture Creative

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