Day 4 of the Site Singing collaborative artist residency at St John on the Wall, Bristol, by Markus Feiler (Berlin) and Ellen Southern (Bristol).
Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/748883498776844
Closing event in the crypt Thursday 11th October from 7pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/1155449174595391/
Today we spent time documenting the work so far, it feels like we are reaching some formed ideas about what we will show, being mindful to be honest about the parameters and time frame of the production. We want to convey the energy we have felt being in this space, with the structure of our days and the sparks of inspiration that have come and grown into some works we are proud of.
Ellen worked some more on a 3d drawing to install on the remaining tomb – each of the others have works installed on them now. This spatial drawing will be made from images from ‘above’ (the upper church), as well as integrating a couple of curious wall figures from Tailors court – the site of the neglected ‘lost’ graveyard to this church.
Markus installed photos from a colourful welcome display in the upper church, a new / old pallette (in the sense of pre-Reformation murals, painted sculptures etc) into the space.
We installed the recording of Ellen dueting with the bells of St Johns last night, and also recoreded the hand bell in the upper church. Ellen processed down the central aisle ringing the bell gently, capturing the amazing sound of the bell combined with the reverb and acoustics of that space. Ellen will use the idea of ‘bells’ as a basis for the live performance tommorrow.
After leaving the church last night, we went to sing with Bristol Sacred Harp, a shapenote singing group that meets every Tuesday evening in Benjamin Perry boathouse on the harbour. I (Ellen) sing there every week, wheras Markus had never heard that style of singing: open throated and very rhythmic. Ellen led Ninety Third Psalm with Markus in the middle of the square, hearing all parts sung from 4 directions. We were inspired to work with the song, by capturing the different acoustics of the each church through the songs.
The ‘upper’ voice (Ellen Southern singing treble) is recorded in the upper church, and the lower voice (Markus Feiler singing alto) is sung in the lower church / crypt. The two recordings were made separate from each other, with just a starting note in common, so they rhythmically and harmonically phase and mismatch in a slightly uncanny, disembodied way.
And so ends the daily work of the artist residency. Tomorrow we prepare for the closing event….