Master Rock

Maria Fusco (Artist)

    Research output: Other contribution


    Master Rock is a multi-component output comprising live performances, a radio play and a sole-authored book, written and directed by Fusco. The project was performed and recorded live inside Ben Cruachan Power Station, a mile beneath west Scotland’s highest mountain. Fusco tells, for the first time, the epic material history of the site fusing the documentary and the lyric, premiering 50 years to the day of the station opening (15 October 2015).

    Commissioned by Artangel and BBC Radio 4 (with additional funding from Carnegie Trust, Craignish Trust and Creative Scotland), Fusco’s project was selected from 1,000 proposals. Master Rock was broadcast on Radio 4, in both arts and drama slots, the first experimental commission to reach a huge mainstream audience; subsequently available on BBC iPlayer, experienced by 2.5 million listeners; and downloaded as a podcast by 16,000 individuals.

    Fusco’s key methodology was writing durationally in-situ inside the station, where special access was granted by Scottish Power to work on-site and to digitise unseen items from their archive. She collected oral testimonies from surviving labourers who built the station, collaborating with engineering and technology historians, geologists and acoustic specialists from the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM), Paris, to produce a score testing the qualities of the site. This key methodology was extrapolated into Fusco’s decision to record the play inside the mountain, capturing its complex sonic texture and facilitating listeners to viscerally experience what it is to be inside a mountain.

    The work was covered internationally in many specialist press and national newspapers including Art Monthly, The Guardian, Nero and named as one of Frieze’s art works of the year: the project was also published as a book. Fusco has been invited to speak at many international venues about the work, including Architectural Association (London) and Contemporary Calgary (Canada).
    Original languageEnglish
    TypeMulti Component Output
    PublisherUniversity of Dundee
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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