I have been offered a one year fixed term post of Artist in Residency in the Faculty of Media, Art & Communications. I will be based at Gloucester Cathedral and have been provided with a living accommodation and a studio in close proximity to the Cathedral. I will be also required to work and do approx. 30 days of teaching at the University of Gloucestershire.
The installation of the work was planned to take place on the 18th and the 19th of April but this extended it into the forthcoming week.
My partner and me managed to position the speakers on all four walls but we couldn’t install the full equipment as two of the outputs were faulty and had to be returned and exchanged.
The new equipment eventually arrived on Tuesday the 21st and we continued with the set up. For the next 9 days I was wiring the speakers and gluing the cables to the walls (as I was not aloud to fix the cables to the walls I had to use silicon glue gun to secure them).
Although everything was booked weeks in advance there were still many problems.
Literally my troubles continued, constant complains from some of the staff, double bookings of dates… I had to move the equipment from the chapter house to an electric cabin near by, and although all the cables were very neatly positioned there was still not satisfaction! I guess some people are never satisfied and they’ll never be happy no matter what you do they’ll always find something to complain about!
The bird heads became an issue, they have been refused and I was told that I couldn’t exhibit them inside the Cathedral.
I was given the option to show them in the Cloisters but I decide that this was not an appropriate space, because of the sound installation, and they should be seen in a separate space.
These didn’t give me much choice, as there are not many covered outside spaces and after long discussion and few meetings I have been aloud to use the outside gateways of the Cathedral into College and Millers Green.
The original idea was to make-preserve 40 heads of ducks, chickens and pheasants and place them on top of the original architectural fixtures – angels, which heads have been broken or removed inside the Cathedral. Where their strange beauty and elevated status will draw attention to the ambivalence of our relationship with birds, whom we both protect and preserve as well as exploit.
Then I asked for permission to take moulds of two original angels and cast them.
This was very easy and with no problems I had the scaffolding put up for me and when ahead with the mould making, and made two different moulds.
A week later I had 40 casts made in plaster and two weeks later I had them all cleaned and finished. Thanks god to Jess and Holly who came to the rescue and helped me with the painting work.
I decide it to use the colours and the stencil design from the Altar and paint the angels.
Also this week I meet the new candidates, there were four shortlists, and interestingly all four men, they came overnight for next day interviews for the next year residency. Was very interesting to see how they performed on the night at the dinner. It only reminded me of year a go and I must have been the same nervous and very careful with my questions and answers… I really felt for them.
On March the 26th I did a lecture at the University of Gloucestershire and on the 2nd of April did second lecture at Artist Studio in Stroud called SVA, very interesting place. Both lectures when very well and there were many people intrigued by the work.
I sat for days editing the men and female recordings and cleaning all the small clicks on the birds recordings given to me by the Wildlife sound recording society.
I had to be finished by Saturday the 4th of April as I had the sound suite booked at the University of Gloucestershire where together with Andrew Lansley, who’s been helping me finalise the sounds, we did a days work. It was amazing we cleaned all the edits and finalised all the volumes of all 130 tracks. I expected these to take days but Andrew’s knowledge and experience just showed me how quick is to do something when you know what you are doing.
This week was also the week when I found out that I have upset one person at the Chapter house and this person was not happy for me to go ahead and use the birds heads in the Cathedral.
Sorry haven’t written in days it has been very hectic here at the Cathedral. The last month was a bit of a leaving nightmare for me. With complains and last minute changes to one section of the final exhibition work, double bookings with my final exhibition date and time of the opening and with terrible delays in orders and payments for the equipment and the final install.
I will write these last few weeks and go back with my blog.
Trees got delivered on the 17th and 18th of March, and we began with the planning and digging of the Garth. David Booth and Bill Burford with 7 students helped with all the digging and planting of the trees. The weather was beautiful and we had three very productive days, by Friday pm Bill and myself complete the garden.
I meet a very nice couple this morning Mr and Mrs Wilkin. They are the owners of Pinetum Lodge an amazing place in the middle of Highnam Woods. Andrew, myself and Barry Embling from RSPB when to look at the site which we will use for the relay of the Nightingales and got introduced to Mr & Mrs Wilkin. We talked about the project and the possibilities of using they internet for the life relay of the bird sounds – the Nightingales. We also when to look at the area of where the microphones could be placed and were Barry anticipates that the Nightingales will come back in April.
Last Saturday I when to the Community meeting at the Chapter House where I presented my project to about 80 members and asked if any member of the Cathedral Community might sponsor one of the trees which will be planted in the Garth (Cloister garden). I have three members saying definite yes and two people both wanted the Silver Birch. Unfortunately as there is only one Silver Birch I had to go with the first person and I really hope that the second person comes back and chooses another tree!
The delivery of the trees and shrubs is on the 17th and 18th of March and the planting on the 18th, 19th and 20th of March. After a great struggle with Hartpury College, who pulled out last minute from the project, because they found my work to “challenging and controversial” I have contacted the Landscape Architects department at the University of Gloucestershire and thanks to David and Bill they are coming to help with few of they students.