Transient-Data Parish (2019)

Transient-Data Parish is part of a series of work which, explores the relationship between sound and territory. On 18 May 2019, Liminal returned to the Goonhilly Village Green Festival with their bell tower.

Parishes –territories defined by the earshot of a bell– have formed a central part of this investigation. For Goonhilly Village Green 2019, Liminal were invited to return to the Green with their bell tower, to re-imagine a ‘Transient Parish’, a temporary Parish created by erecting a bell tower at the centre of the festival site.

The church bell offers a prototypical example of the colonisation and mapping of space through soft power. A parish is defined not by erecting borders but offering protection and jurisdiction to those within the earshot of the bell. Parishes then, are communities forged in sound. Today, airborne data has taken on a role once held by bells, creating and governing communities through territories colonised through information and maintained not by means of physical boundaries but by the reach of a transmitter.

At the centre of the Goonhilly Village Green, just 100 meters from the Dry-Tree menhir, where the five surrounding parishes of the Lizard meet, stands the Goonhilly Village Green tower, a 1:10 scale model of the radar towers that once stood on the Downs. Hosting both a peal of bells and a WiFi transmitter, the tower creates both a phonosphere and a datasphere, each with the approximate reach of the borders of the village green. The Goonhilly bell tower broadcasts both the sound of bells and the echo of data transmitted by WiFi and in doing so, gathers the Goonhilly Village Green under the protection and jurisdiction of this Transient Data-Parish.

 The WiFi was kindly donated by Wildanet, Cornwall’s premier wireless internet provider and the bells were kindly loaned by Penzance Orchestral Society.