Its been some time since my last post, and its now 6 years since I started boarding local busses and walking country miles, OS maps in hand, making my field trips. I feel this project has been pivotal in achieveing one set aim – to reconnect me with the region of the South West, having lives away for a few years. More than that, it has increasingly been a way I can make wonderful artistic connections with people in my adopted home city of Bristol.
Those early field trips were, apart from two exceptions, solo ‘expeditions’ in order to push the boundries of my understanding of my voice/s, and its relation to the spaces I use it/them in. I originally aimed to create interpretative audio works / downloadable podcasts which could be listened to at each site. I found that as just an individual person with no institutional backing, getting this ‘officially’ put in place and promoted to visitors is difficult. So I must be content that the sound-sketches I have created serve this purpose in an ‘unofficial’ capacity.
What has been within my power, is the side of the project where I used my field recordings as the basis of making live performances and collaborations – bringing the sites to audiences in a transformed way. This is what this post is for, to start to share some of the way this is developing. To follow this progress, you can like my Facebook page.
The sites themselves are still out there, in the wind and rain, in the dark and silence, in the heat of the sun, as they have been for hundreds, even thousands, of years. I still feel like they are ‘friends’, who I will see again (and again!). But I admit the field trips have not happened for a while, as my ‘new’ life filled up with exciting projects like my band Dead Space Chamber Music / https://dscm.bandcamp.com/ , and the event series which raises funds for the heritage charity the Churches Conservation Trust, Dark Alchemy. But it will only make re-connecting with them all the more special, when I do, as their acoustics have been played out to multiple audiences in Bristol, London, and also Berlin to date.
In fact theres field trips going back 2 or 3 years which I havent even documented and published here yet! Maybe this Covid-19 lockdown period will give me the chance to fill some of those gaps…?Site Singing: Long Barrow live at SILENCIO experimental ambient night from Ellen Southern on Vimeo. Ellen Southern – Site Singing at the Lanes from Ellen Southern on Vimeo.