Bradford-On-Avon Tithe Barn – second visit

On the 2nd of April 2015 I re-visited the Tithe Barn at Bradford-On-Avon.

I went with the intention to listen to the sound sketches I made from my first visit to the barn, to see what it is like, inspired by the experience of doing the same at Stoney Littleton.

I got the train at Temple Meads, and when already on it I realised I had forgotten my ipod so I wouldn’t be able to listen to the sound sketches in the barn after all. This was pretty disheartening for a few minutes. Then I thought, its actually ok to not have a plan. To just go there and see what happens.

Like at Stoney Littleton, it felt good and familiar to go back, like meeting a friend who has been on your mind, you need to catch up. It was relatively busy at the barn when I got there. There was a wedding party and so I got to see the way the site gets used for this. It was all very jovial, and the party posed for photographs in one of the entrances to the barn. They didn’t appear to mind me being inside the barn, and I just got on with my own things. I found myself thinking about the Fish House at Meare, and how that was a church-owned site too. Like I had there, I started singing in intervals of octaves and fifths, vocally sliding up and down, and listening to the sounds disappearing into the length of the barn, being multiplied by the distinctive echo.

Between singings, a man wandered in, a visitor to the barn. I lingered at one end while he viewed the space, and I smiled when I heard him whistle, he couldn’t resist a whistle, just to hear it there. That’s what this space is like, it seems to invite sound making, even though that’s not its original function.

On the same day, I found out my proposal to have a Site Singing exhibition at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in July had been accepted! From being such a solo experience, shared only online, I will now have the chance to directly see how people react to the work, and to talk about it with them. I hope this will help guide and shape the project.


Note: this track has some fairly quiet layers within it, so for the best experience use headphones. It is a composite arrangements of field recordings, or as I call it, a ‘sound-sketch’.

Track 1: (2.57 min) CA

I walked the space, singing octaves and fifths in response to the resonances I was creating. Also layered in the track is the sound of my hand tracing the square-shaped holes in the walls, in which seeds and leaves have been blown and dried, creating a crackling sound.

I like how this recording includes sounds made by a man who wandered in while I was there, and just couldn’t resist whistling and clicking his fingers in this open, resonant space.

Next post: preparing for the Site Singing exhibition at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol

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