The Flood, My Chanting, 2008
A performed sound circuit travelling from the lagoon by Jervois Quay, down lower Willis St, Featherston St, Waring-Taylor Street towards the waterfront, Wellington (see map for route).
A series of bells will be temporarily installed through central Wellington in a circuit curving from the waterfront though the central city and back to the sea. The line which the bells collectively delineate will correspond to the part of the central city most under threat from future flooding. By mapping the space of the city with sound, the project will consider the relationship of the built environment to Wellington’s natural topography.
A chain reaction of sound will be activated by the sound of one bell reaching the position of the next. This sound cue will be acted on by ringers running between the bell stations. As the circuit is repeated passers-by will hear the over-lapping and varying resonance’s of the bells. The duration of the sound circuit will be naturally determined, responding to the ringers moving through the streets, as well as to the necessary duration required for each of the bells to send the signal on.
The antique maritime bells are on loan from the Museum of Wellington’s collection. These decommissioned maritime bells are rich and imposing objects, inscribed with the names and dates of their vessel, their surfaces marked with the history of their original use. Customarily bells aboard ships were used for ceremonial purposes, the marking of time, and to communicate a ship’s presence to other vessels and warn of imminent danger.
The project also looks back to the out-dated tradition of ringing church bells in times of danger in order to raise alarm to inhabitants of surrounding parishes. Church bells have traditionally been a way in which sound maps distance, and thereby defines distinct communities. The project seeks to use sound, objects and performative action to ask what emotional reactions we should have to the warnings of today about the natural disasters predicted for the future.
Amy Howden Chapman works in a range of media including performative collaborations. Her work considers social and emotional responses to our soundings, particularly sites where urban settings meet natural and environmental phenomena. A dance is created between fable and fact, science and prophecy. Reaction is summoned, and an event becomes a chant.
*if raining, the event will be postponed until Friday 10 October 2008 at 2pm
Commissioned by City Gallery Wellington. Part of One Day Sculpture, a New Zealand-wide series of temporary public artworks. Maritime bells generously loaned by the Museum of Wellington City and Sea. Proudly funded from the Public Art Fund, Wellington City Council and Creative New Zealand.
City Gallery Wellington is managed by the Wellington Museums Trust with major funding from the Wellington City Council.
One Day Sculpture is a Massey University College of Creative Arts, School of Fine Arts, Litmus Research Initiative