Audiograft – Artist Talk · 10:03:14

Audiograft – Artist Talk

Liminal will be talking about Of This Parish at the Old Fire Station in Oxford on 14 March 2014 at 14:30

The idea of a ‘Parish’ – a common device used to delineate territory while also defining a sacred community – was an articulation of acoustic space: the Parish was the zone in which a church bell could be heard. This notion of ‘Parish’ as phonosphere is the point of departure for Of This Parish; a piece which explores the relationship between various acoustic spaces: the personal and the shared, the secular and the sacred, the near and the distant, the historical and the contemporary.

Bells have been associated with their intense power to evoke, to impart a feeling of time passing, to foster reminiscence, recover things forgotten, and to consolidate an individual’s identification with an auditory site. In our piece, the tolling bell is used as a device to both unify acoustic space, while also invoking the multifarious cultural uses of bells: as calls to prayer and worship, as keepers of time, as tocsin; an alarm or warning and as a voice of authority.

In the piece, four walks are made simultaneously by four synchronized sound recordists, all starting from the central location of a Church with a tolling bell. When these field recordings are played through four corresponding pairs of loudspeakers arranged around the perimeter of an installation space, the recordings will begin with this integrated 8-channel surround recording; each recording rendering the acoustic scene from an only marginally different perspective to the others. However, as the recordists begin along their respective walks, only sounds loud enough to permeate each local environment – such as the church bell – will permeate all four recordings. The rationale for the presentation of these four recordings in a single space is to provide the listener with an impossible listening experience, collapsing the entire acoustic territory of the Parish into a single space.

The original version of Of This Parish was devised for the Parish of Sul in Northern Portugal with the support of Binarual/Nodar, the Arts Council England and the Falmouth University’s Sonva. This version of Of This Parish exploring the territory of Christchurch’s bells in Oxford, was conceived by David Prior and Frances Crow and realised in Oxford with Felicity Ford and Oxford Brookes University alumni and SARU practitioners for the Sound Diaries Concert as part of the Audiograft Festival 2014.

Acknowledgements: Special thanks goes to Felicity Ford, aka Felix for organising the sound walks and producing the work in Oxford in collaboration with Simon Bond and the Oxford Society of Change Ringers. Also to the sound recordists: Sam Kidel, Victoria Bosher, Bruno Guastalla and Dimitris Batsis and to photographer Pier Corona.


  • Of This Parish,
  • Sound Art,
  • General