research: Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff, Clougha Pike Lancaster
performance: Commissioned for the Between Nature: Ecology and Performance conference, Lancaster University August 2000. somasonic#2
taff was presented at the Stiwdio Theatre, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, Sept 2000
materials: 2 mobile phones, 32 earphones, plants, glass bowls and sample jars, microphones (binaural stereo pair/ underwater microphone),
2 speakers, delay system (computer or tape loop)
duration: 1 day (dawn to dusk)
A performance/ installation, sunrise – sunset ( 4.45 am- 9.45 pm). Part inspired by the summer rite of well/ spring dressing in parts of the Pennines
and Northern England, an act of remembrance and prayer for continuance of the source.
soma: body as distinct from soul
sonic: relating to, or using sound or sound waves
spirit: animated/ life-giving principle in a person or place
Beginning at sunrise, Whitehead walks the moorland at Clougha Pike above Lancaster locating springs and water sources. At each source he
drinks and via mobile phone transmits the sound of water to a large stairwell in Lancaster University. Here, this iconic signal is received and projected
into the space through a system of cascading speakers.The space is installed with bottles and jars containing samples of mosses, grasses and reeds
gathered from Clougha Pike the day before. The map reference and location of each water transmission is recorded on a map in the stairwell.
The transmissions, together with the ambience of the space, are picked up by 2 microphones at the top of the stairwell and recycled back into
the sound system after a delay of 7′ 24″. Resulting in a shifting texture of past and present events, a blend of the sounds of the moor,
the acoustics of the stairwell and the presence of the viewer. The viewer moves through the different levels of the room, to contemplate, dream,
remember. Many leave their mark in writing and drawing on the walls of the installation.
At intervals dancer Stirling Steward gently intervenes, interacting and becoming witness to anyone present..at times moving through the other
events of the festival. The work ends at sunset, during a final transmission. The sonic element fades with the sun. The following day samples of mosses,
grasses and reeds are returned to Clougha.
somasonicspirit #2 taff A lament for the loss of the tidal nature of the Taff, the capital city’s cosmology usurped.
An 8 hour event, midday- 8 pm, transmissions along the course of the river Taff, from central Cardiff to the Cardiff Bay Barrage, using an
underwater microphone. Installation at Chapter Arts Centre Stiwdio, reel-reel tape loop creating sound delay and tracing the extent of the
space, bottles placed at intervals part filled with river water and small speakers, cables creating a labyrinth/ map on the floor. Viewers navigate
the room, make paper boats written with a wish for the river and place them in the space. Over the afternoon the room fills with sound, movement, and boats.
On the following day, the boats are launched into the river after a picnic in Bute Park.