Transient Parish (2015)

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Transient Parish:Timelapse by Andrew Kidd, 2015 - vimeo

Transient Parish was a commission for Goonhilly Village Green festival 2015. As part of a series of works that explore sound and the formation of territory, Liminal designed an 8m-tall bell tower, which created a temporary Parish for the festival site. The tower was built with architecture students from Falmouth University.

Since 2013 Liminal have been making work that explores the relationship between sound and territory. Parishes – territories defined by the earshot of a bell – have formed a central part of this investigation. For Goonhilly Village Green 2015, Liminal created a temporary Parish by erecting a bell tower at the centre of the festival site on the Goonhilly Downs. The sound of the bells both punctuated the passing of time and formed an acoustic substrate to the temporary community that gathered for the festival, offering protection and a sense of belonging to those within the bell’s acoustic horizon.

Standing 8m tall, the tower itself was a 1:10 re-visioning of the radar receiver towers that once stood on Goonhilly Downs. In this way Transient Parish meditates on the way in which towers have evolved in both form and function while so often retaining an imperative to act as a means by which we human beings can reach beyond ourselves. Whether we try to reach God by building towers that reach into the sky, or we use the sound of bells or radio signals to extend this reach, towers have consistently represented our quest for knowledge while also symbolising spiritual hubris.

The Goonhilly Downs are a rich site in which to be exploring this theme. In addition to the iconic satellite dishes of the Goonhilly Earth Station, the Dry Tree menhir located very close to the Village Green site forms another point of departure for Transient Parish. The menhir stands as an early manifestation of the human desire to reach beyond the constraints of our bodies, touching the sky and projecting our imagined influence beyond the confines of the earth. The Dry Tree menhir also forms a central point where the boundaries of the five surrounding parishes of St Keverne, Mawgan­in­Meneage, Cury, St Martin­in­Meneage and Ruan Minor all meet. For Goonhilly Village Green, children from each of these parishes composed the peals that sounded out throughout the day on the five bells in the tower each representing one of the five parishes. The bells themselves were loaned from Penzance Orchestral Society.

The Transient Parish tower was built in collaboration with first and second year architecture students from Falmouth University who also supported the delivery of an education workshop devised by Liminal, for five schools within the Keskowethyans Multi-Academy Trust. Goonhilly Village Green (GVG) 2015 was an arts festival led by artists Sara Bowler and Elizabeth Masterton, supported by Arts Council England. The event created a temporary village green on the National Nature Reserve and in Goonhilly Earth Station located on the Goonhilly Downs, Lizard Peninsula on 25 – 26 September 2015. The project was conceived as part of a Sara and Elizabeth’s position as Creative Exchange Affiliates at the Environment and Sustainability Institute at Exeter University, Penryn Campus and was curated by Falmouth University MA Contemporary Practice graduates, Cat Bragg and Rosie Thompson-Glover who work together as Field Notes.