Report – Fort Process (2014)

Report… the sound a gun makes on firing

Historically, cannons and bells have been made in the same forges and in times of war, bells have been melted down to make cannons. In Report, the sound of a bell takes the place of the sound of the gun and is placed in the heart of the Eastern Magazine, at Newhaven Fort, East Sussex. The sound of the bell fills the space, providing a visceral experience of the site, echoing both its historical function and its architectural form.

Liminal developed Report specifically for the spaces of Newhaven Fort, one of a necklace of sea defences along the South Coast designed to defend England from attack by sea and later the air. Newhaven Fort would once have been bombarded by the report of gunfire and the spaces within the Eastern Magazine – now empty and silent – would have reverberated with the sound of heavy artillery.

Liminal rung an ‘afternoon watch’ on 13 September 2014 from 12 noon at the opening of the Fort Process Festival until 4pm.

Report also builds on themes that have underpinned our work during the last few years, in which we have explored the relationship between sound, listening and notions of territory. In our piece Organ of Corti, we created a passive, acoustic device that mediated the sound of the environment to reveal hidden qualities within the existing soundscape. With Report, we used the fort itself as an acoustic device, mediating the sound of the bell through multiple spaces, inviting listeners to engage with both the sound of the bell and the acoustics of the fort within a unique frame of listening. In our project Of This Parish, we explored the relationship between sound and territory. Based on the idea that a Parish is constituted by a community who fall within the earshot of a church bell, we devised a project that incorporated performance, installation and a film, which traced the history of church bells back to their magico-sacred origins, as pre-Christian ‘protectors’ of territory. With Report, we continued our work with bells, exploring the relationship bells have with power, with warfare and specifically, with cannons.

Fort Process was a one day sound and art festival exploring the unique acoustic spaces of Newhaven Fort. Fort Process took place at Newhaven Fort, East Sussex on 13 September 2014 from Noon till 10.00pm. Fort Process is a Lost Property project.