In June 2012, Artangel invited Imogen to ‘A Room for London’, a one-bedroom (boat) installation that overlooks the Thames from the roof of Queen Elizabeth Hall. First she installed a customised audio visual egg-shaped ‘listening chair’ into the Southbank Centre below, to gather information from passers-by about what the river Thames meant to them.
Watch the responses that were recorded on The Listening Chair website.
Then, having absorbed this material, she spent a night in the boat and began to write the latest Heap Song, ‘You Know Where To Find Me’.
“There are many different personalities in this song because people experience the river in different ways. A place for play, for rest and for some, to visit the ashes of their loved ones. The Thames has its dark sides too; in lives and love it’s taken.”
Having part of the lyrics and music intact, the next stage was to record piano parts. As ever continuing to collaborate, Imogen turns to Edinburgh based, piano-owning Twitter followers to let her into their house, wear their clothes and record elements of the song. This was done in just one day in Edinburgh, involving 13 pianos, filming the music video as they went. Heap improvised and wrote the song on these pianos and finished it off at her studio in Essex.
“The river was the inspiration for the song, but You Know Where To Find me is not just about our relationship with the River Thames or how it sees us. It’s about being there for your daughter, your mother, your best friend, your lover, no matter what state you’re in, or what you have to tell me, the message is, I’m here.”
Alongside this, an illustrated, interactive online map commissioned by Artangel and created with Robur TV for The Space website allows visitors to explore Imogen’s journey through Edinburgh via the pianos she played, from Imogen’s own recollections of the people she met and the places she visited, to interviews with the pianos’ owners describing what the instruments mean to them and the location in which they are found.
Take an interactive tour of all the piano locations in Edinburgh, watch Imogen’s performance from the Room For London boat and see behind the scenes photos at The Space.