The Rehearsal is a site-specific installation using assemblage, sound and performance. It was constructed in the nave of St John the Divine’s deconsecrated church in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, as part of an international group show in May 2022.
In this work, on-the-point-of-collapse ephemeral materials from the marsh were suspended and balanced precariously on the west wall and through the vast nave of the church. The delicacy of materials and their imperceptible movement combined with subtly changing conditions of light and sound connected the viewer to the mystery and stillness of the monumental building. The materials’ vulnerable beauty and uncanny presence, a reminder of the uncertainty and contingency of all life. That this structure existed in a permanent state of possible collapse for the duration of the exhibition was something I had hoped for.
Meaning emerges inescapably by paying attention to what is presented and in this work I wanted to ‘sharpen the ears’ and, ‘heighten the senses.’
Without fail, viewers adapted quickly to the demands of their new surroundings. Amending speed and movement and engaging all senses in a 360 degree awareness in, and around this work was crucial. The presence of other humans too, played a significant role in this encounter - it is astonishing how peripheral vision and archaic listening techniques surface when needed. These ancient basic senses remain vital for sustaining life and surviving well.
It was also important to embody something of Lincolnshire’s dynamic landscape in the work. In response to environmental disturbances, marshland can move across the surface of the earth in comprehensible timescales. Its self-organising properties and ability to adapt and change quickly are essential properties for its own sustainability and survival.