rain choir crypt

rain choir: the prague variation | 2014

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The site-specific sound installation rain choir was commissioned by 10DaysWinchester, for the crypt of Winchester Cathedral. The prague variation draws on the field-recordings used in this installation, together with recordings of the choir coloured by the acoustics of its situation. 
In the original field-recordings I used an array of contact and acoustic microphones to explore the distinct voices and rhythms of the Cathedral's drainage system. Each gutter provides a unique spatial acoustic, colouring the sound of rain falling through it. Recordings within the crypt introduce a distinct spatiality, augmented by the occasional conversation of Cathedral guides and visitors.
Just as the graffiti covered internal walls pronounce a visible silence, a palpable but unspoken history, so too the Limestone used to build the Cathedral contains its own petrified voices. Formed from the compressed remains of Palaeolithic corals and foraminifera, the stone contains the fossilised respiration of pre-historic oceans.  The external walls of the building are pitted with holes and crevices, evidence of changes in atmospheric conditions and the corrosive effects of acid rain. Through the naive chemical action of dissolving samples of Cathedral limestone in sulphuric acid, the effervescent charnel air of ancient CO2 is made audible.
These gaseous voices are added to the choir of the prague variation, which has been recomposed for the 'headphone' gallery of Galerie Díra in Prague: a socket in the wall through which listeners may hear a choir of cathedral rain.


 

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