Created in collaboration with ecopoet Chris Poundwhite for SALT Festival of the Sea and Environment 2019, Green Language offers a unique perspective on the ever-present Folkestone Downs, through a blend of transportive soundscapes and poetry, we explore its rich history and ecosystem of plants and wildlife, inviting visitors to consider their relationship with this integral part of the local landscape.
We visited the site, known as Holywell Coombe, on three occasions during the Summer Solstice: at dawn, at the Sun’s zenith, and at dusk. Each time field-recordings were made at three distinct locations: Holywell Fen (or St Thomas’s Well / Holy Well – TR222381), Round Hill Holloway (on a chalk mound – TR220383), and beneath the Holywell Coombe Viaduct (or A20 flyover / Holywell Field West – TR217381).
Over the length of the piece, band-pass filters slowly sweep through audio frequencies, drawing attention to the different sounds captured in the recordings. To accompany the soundscape, Chris Poundwhite has written a series of poems, influenced and informed by our own ecological surveys and research into the history and geology of the site.
Green Language is exhibited in the Shipping Container, East Yard, Folkestone Harbour Arm and is free to visit for the duration of SALT Festival (20 – 22 September) from 11am til 5pm.
Thanks to Folkestone Downs Ranger Alfie Gay and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership for their assistance in species identification, by sight and by sound!
Technology For Talking is a short animated film by director Jemima Hughes about Alternative or Augmentative Communication (AAC) – technology that gives disabled people a voice. The film was commissioned by the BBC for their BBC Ideas platform’s ‘Rethinking Disability’ strand, and is available to watch here.
The score uses ‘softsynth’ sounds to reflect both the technological subject matter and the 70s/80s retro visual aesthetic of the film, and accompanies Jemima’s own narration using AAC.
Starling Broadcast is an electroacoustic work comprised of field recordings, improvised digital manipulation and synthesis.
The field recordings, made over three subsequent dusk evenings in late November 2018, capture the sound of starlings roosting beneath the Folkestone Harbour’s 1930s swing bridge.
The range of vocalisations (demonstrated by the accompanying spectrograms) are explored through musique concrète and ecoacoustic compositional techniques, including varispeed, delay and spatial effects, filtering and pitch tracking algorithms: where select frequencies are converted into synthesized sound.
Starling Broadcast was exhibited in the disused Folkestone Harbour Signal Box, yards from the roost site, as part of the Profound Sound Festival 2019, with over 500 people visiting the space across two days.
The piece has subsequently been aired on Radiophrenia – a temporary art radio station, and broadcast live from Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts from 13th – 26th May 2019.
Quarantine is a stop-motion short film by Astrid Goldsmith, about a troupe of Morris-dancing badgers living in the shadow of a borderland quarantine facility. It was commissioned by the BFI and BBC4 as part of their prestigious Animation 2018 talent scheme and screened to a capacity audience at the BFI before being shown on BBC4.
The 13-minute film’s orchestral score is interwoven with elements of traditional folk and world music (which often occur sequentially if not simultaneously), following the exploits of a diverse cast of characters.
El Dorado is a triptych of soundscapes combining original music and field recordings that capture the unique sounds and biodiversity of Folkestone Warren: a designated local nature reserve (LNR) and site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
“The Warren has been termed the El Dorado and the “terra felix” of the entomologists. And not without reason.”
– Rambles Around Folkestone by “Felix”, 1913
House of Easement is a sound installation of pastiche Tudor style music specially composed in response to the ‘mock-Tudor’ architecture of the public toilets at Pleydell Gardens, Folkestone.
The composition takes the form of a pavan and galliard: a pair of courtly dances popular during the Tudor period. Traditionally, these tunes would be dedicated to, or named after, a nobleman or other notable person.