As Above So Below: day 3

Day 3 of the Site Singing collaborative artist residency at St John on the Wall, Bristol, by Markus Feiler (Berlin) and Ellen Southern (Bristol).

Event page:

Today we continued to explore the space, but with an increasing sense of culmination, of direction and output. Our work feels very interactive with the space, like a conversation, a call and response.

In the morning, we visited the upper church when a volunteer had opened it up, so we got to play the ‘visitor’! The Churches Conservation Trust volunteer was really welcoming and informative, and we discussed the sheer number of churches in the old medieval city here in Bristol. He quipped that “yes we are lucky, so many churches. And pubs. Churches and pubs – thats Bristol!”. He also told us that the closed off graveyard we found on day 1 is in face the graveyard of this church. So we decided to reunite the two in a way we can, and integrate something of that neglected site down that sad alleyway, into the work. We will see how….

We took some new photos, including of the brightly coloured display above the welcome desk, which we printed out and started experimenting with during the work in progress.

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We welcomed some new vistors during our ‘opening hours’, and also a couple of repeat visitors! We had some new work to present: a projection of our initial video of the upper and lower churches, with audio from the harmonium. One visitor remarked on the colour of the stained glass windows in the video, and how churches used to be full of colour with murals, coloured glass etc. Including the colourful photos from the welcome desk is seems way to reflect this.

We also showed visitors our mirror installation: a mirror lying on a plinth, facing upwards, which when peered into, presents the space as a curious upside down version of itself (as above so below…!).

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At the end of our work in progress, we heard bells ringing and realised that there were bell ringers in the church tower! We recorded the sound, then went inside and Ellen did a vocal piece in response to the bells, integrating the wonderful acoustics of this space.


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