Exhibition; Emily Peasgood: Living Sound

Currently on at the Sidney Cooper gallery in Canterbury, January 12- February 23rd

This is her first Solo show by Artist and composer Emily, She has installed her earlier site specific work within the back of the gallery and created a new installation in the front room of the Sidney Cooper gallery; ‘Sidney Cooper’s living room’. There are 3 films, 2 of which document the work within the site and the interaction people have with this work and the other one is of a choir singing and I presume recording the sounds that you hear from the wooden crosses on boxes dotted around the room of the gallery.

She uses multidisciplinary interactive sound installations to extend her practice to a wider audience. She works with community groups such as local choirs (POW) to produce these works. The focus is to create a connection between people and locations that have become forgotten and undervalued mostly due to political realties. Particularly in ‘Halfway to Heaven’ (2017 Folkestone Triennia) which is an  old grave yard within Folkestone that has been closed to the public due to its problematic location. Its situation is perched near a train viaduct and looks to me like possible subsidence and vandalism would occur so from a council point of view the site would be better closed off and therefore has been neglected.


…the Baptist burial ground started in the 1750s, in the garden of a miller. Until 1855, Baptists were buried there, as their ‘radical’ beliefs resulted in discrimination that prevented burial in Anglican ground. Following law reform in the 1850s, the burial ground was no longer required. When the railway arrived in the late 1800s, the slopes of the Pent Valley were cut away to be developed as terraced housing and the burial ground was left stranded as an ‘island’, floating 55 feet in the air. Since, as Folkestone has evolved and time has passed, the burial ground has become overgrown and forgotten by the town. Folkestone Triennia website cited 23.2.2019

Her Artist Statement explains the reason she uses sound to express her personal frustration and joy as she finds this medium accessible and cathartic. “It makes frustrating things tolerable, and fun things magical.”  She also suggests that sound enhancers her work and her language of other art practices such as drawing and sculpture.

“…locations that are taken for granted and can be perceived differently through music and the experiences of people.” http://www.emilypeasgood.com.

This is prevalent with music festivals, the radical shift from isolated deserted farm land transformed within days to raving throbbing music venues. I also like the idea of isolating where the sound is coming from. Her wooden cross boxes are activated by motion,  one of the films shows children running from one box to another so to activate a symphony of sound. Sometimes when I am  out side walking the dog, I am therefore exposed to many noises and listening to something above all the other noise is identifying something not obvious to me like an unusually bird sound or and irritating knocking sound. I would call this a sound intervention as it can shift you from thinking about what ever, to noticing your surroundings. What Emily is doing is composing that intervention and encouraging people to engage with their surroundings.

One of the many problems with the accommodation at the Cyprus Collage of Art was the lack of double glazing. One night I went to the porter-cabin toilet block and cried at around 2.30am as I couldn’t stand the onslaught of the sound of a valley full of dogs continuously barking. It was yet another sleepless night for me and with it being rubbish collection day the following day the multitudinous cats would rip away at the rubbish bags that were on the other side of the fence but under the noses of the bountiful dogs that are kept outside for security reasons. It took me a while to realised that I needed to overcome this intolerable interaction I was having and decided that the only way to deal with this problem was to control the noise pollution by putting my head phones on and drowning out the barking with my choice of music. I was not going to get any sleep but had a feeling of control over the difficult situation I was trapped in. I told my fellow students the problems I was facing the next morning and was offered some ear plugs, a rather simple solution which angered me,  why  had I not thought to use these before?

After thinking about what Emily says in the above clip, I may use sound within the Kingswood project. I have proposed a fabric wall which was inspired by the development of the trump wall proposals. Construction companies and designers competed for the contract to build the wall along the boundary between Mexico and America. I wanted to express my concerns about the PES (payments for ecological services) which is a system of commodifying nature. When we value something so it fits within our financial system of capitalism, society seems to forget that we are not unit values but we are organic and should be valued the same. When we capitalise a system, units are valued and devalued as a means to validate the valuing system. The kings wood project is to engage people to recognise that nature is all connected and we must value all nature not just some of it. My proposal was to screen off a section of woodland with red fabric as red is a warning colour. I wanted people to feel that this was wrong to take this from them but also to understand that peoples interaction with nature is harming nature. This exhibition has encouraged me to develop another form of engagement with peoples senses and add to this idea of sound. I could set up a speaker projecting out construction noises and then episodes of nothing so there are moments of peaceful sounds from the woods. Again this sound device could be motioned censored like what Emily uses.



http://emilypeasgood.com/halfway-to-heaven-2017/ .cited 23.2.2019

https://wordpress.com/post/contemporaryartpractice2.wordpress.com/22 .previous blog post.

Folkstone Trinnial website to U Tube clip cited 23.2.2019 http://www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk/artist/emily-peasgood/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payment_for_ecosystem_services . PES information cited on 23.2.2019

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/trump-wants-to-build-a-border-wall-covered-in-solar-panels#gs.ag7hZpWT Trump wall prototype with solar panels cited 23.2.2019

https://www.dezeen.com/2018/01/08/us-mexico-border-wall-donald-trump-cost-developments-online-petition/ Trump wall costs spiralling out of control. cited on 23.2.2019




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