Nexus . Interstice: Blanc Sceol, Lee Patterson, Tom White.
Blanc Sceol’s performance will draw from site specific work with the Channelsea island, an abandoned island on the Channelsea river in Stratford, a tributary of the River Lea. After the bend there’s a dead end, an ecotonal community alive with self-seeded inhabitants, effluent overflows, waste waters, mud, industrial detritus, people in search of rest, tidal flow. On the island birch, alder, bramble and buddleia make slow steady progress demolishing the former chemical works buildings, young holly and holm oak forecasting the evergreen future of the land. Light, wind and rain remember their way in.
Unseen Voices of an Invert Internet
In spring and summer 2022, Lee Patterson stumbled upon then began to search for and record the strange, structure borne sounds of insects and larvae within meadowlands, boglands, and brownfield sites.
Using contact microphones carefully attached to plants both alive and dead, he was able to ‘plug in’ to the earth, eavesdropping upon the sonic activities of invertebrates that inhabit grass, annual herbaceous plants, their root systems and top soil, where it seems that they exploit resonant and conductive properties in order to communicate without attracting predators.
After encountering and recording a variety of calls from the mostly unseen creatures, he now considers the enmeshed and entangled material of the meadow – a habitat as rich as a rainforest – to perform as a kind of vegetal insect internet where a tantalising variety of communicative yet enigmatic sounds may be heard.
In a continuation of these explorations, Unseen Voices of an Invert Internet, is a progress report from the fields.
An Awful Energy
Multi-channel sound piece mixing pre-recorded material and live elements (2023).
The Oare Marshes Nature Reserve in Kent was once used to manufacture gunpowder for the first world war effort. On 02 April 1916 a series of massive gunpowder explosions took the lives of 108 people (including White’s Great Grandfather, Sydney Clubb) and injured many more. The blast left a crater 40 yards wide and 20 feet deep. The explosion was so huge it was reportedly felt in Norwich and heard in France.
Remnants of the site remain to this day among the rich ecosystem of birds, insects and non-native marsh frogs. An Awful Energy attempts to draw connections with the past and its present inhabitants/uses of the space; the tragic consequence of a singular event and the development of a very different ecology. Through site specific recordings and actions tracing fading lines in the landscape; a sonic demarcation or archeology can be felt.
The project has been made possible with support from the Arts Council England, and the sound art community.
Image: Blanc Sceol, image from Channelsea island. Used with permission.