Thursday, July 28, 2005

Lights, Action, Yoghurt

Yesterday we took delivery of most of the equipment we are using for the weekend, including walkie-talkies, lights, and yoghurt. I learned something new about yoghurt from Amanda - it is a non-invasive, temporary and easy-to-remove way of making window glass semi-transparent for back-projection.

Per met with some of the people from the Asylum group and recorded them speaking in their mother tongues.

The questions Per asked were:

1. Which country do you come from? Please tell me a little bit about your country, the people there and what you miss most (being here in London)

2. Tell me what a typical day in London is like for you, from when you get up until you go to bed.

3. What is your relation to St. Mary Magdalene Church and the park surrounding it. For how long have you been taking classes here? Have you got any particular memories from this space?

4. Can you sing me a little children’s song, lullaby etc. from your own country?

It was quite a moving experience.

We also chatted with Ellen who works in the launderette and who grew up here. She told us great stories about how the local area used to be. This content is part of the work Motherboard are doing here, exploring attitudes and reactions to the place they are in, and also, their memories of the places they no longer inhabit.

Musical artists Andrew Lagwoski and Dan Powell have donated sounds, and Per is mixing these with the vocal recordings to create the audio part of the installation. We are planning to use this both inside the church and outside the garden.

During the evening, Pam Donovan and Ian Feltham helped me to video the bells. It was quite amazing ascending all the way up inside this 200 year old tower, and I had to walk across the internal belfry wooden gantry to place the video camera. I also placed an audio recorder one level down, in the clock room, where the noise would not distort. For this special occasion, we were treated to some really excellent bellringing with a full complement of 8 bells rung by 8 ringers. It is very energetic work requiring stamina and concentration. I can see the appeal (no pun).

The largest bell in the centre of the tower weighs about a ton, and when they are all swinging, they shake the tower considerably! Nonetheless it is not this that is causing the external cracks in the brickwork, said Ian, it's more than likely the proximity to the unpollarded lime trees which are planted close to the church, and their replacement with trees of smaller scale would solve the problem whilst retaining the ecology of the park, he thought.

The weather is pretty bad this last week in July, and so we are adapting our plans somewhat. I am not sure that the tower lighting will be fixable for this weekend as the junction box on the roof is pretty corroded, which is a shame. The bellringers left at 9pm but we worked on until 11.30pm in the church, setting up lights and projections, managing only one blown fuse in the process.

Jonathan Rust, the vicar, passed me this poem, written by Fred Tohill, one of the regular park users, in honour of our art festival.

St. Mary Magdalene's Day

Come one, come all
Attend our garden fest
Believers true or not
Come be our guest.
Our purpose is
To harmonise and bind
With nature
And give solace to the mind.
Some poetry and music
You will hear
With colours of the rainbow
Ever near.
Where flowerbed
Fulfil the earth's display
Be with us on
St. Mary Magdalene's Day.

Fred Tohill. 05

Thats one of the wonderful things about interactive community art - you never know what beauty will turn up.


Blogger Lagowski said...

Who is 'Andrew Lagwoski'?


8:44 am  

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