So here we are at Allenheads Contemporary Arts from May 19 – June 4, undertaking the first phase of our residency.
Our first days have been spent on research, planning, gathering materials and exploring the local area.
The old Allenheads lead mine reservoir is the epicenter of our project. We have re-imagined it as the Cosmic Pond, and created a sign in the style of the other North Pennines AONB signs around Allenheads to bring the Cosmic Pond into being. Thanks to Mike from M & R Signs & Digital Graphics in nearby Allendale who did a fantastic job. Now all that remains is to find the best location for it.
Our project centres on relaying live underwater sounds from the Cosmic Pond to the North Pennines Observatory. Visitors will be able to listen to aquatic lifeforms responding to the celestial rhythm of the skies above. The installation will be in place for at least the period of our residency, and hopefully beyond. Much of our technical research for the installation has so far been around waterproofing audio connectors and running 100 metres of microphone cable into the observatory without drilling holes in it.
On a gloriously sunny Monday we set off to look for a plank of wood for our hydrophone raft. We wanted something that looked suitably weather-beaten and Alan Smith was able to lead us to just the right piece. A little sawing and sanding and our plank was soon shipshape.
Participation is an important part of our residency. We are hosting two night time events (details to follow) and inviting visitors to join us in collecting sounds, images and stories from around Allenheads. Helen Ratcliffe and Alan Smith of ACA are dong a fantastic job of making contact with organisations and individuals to help us with our research.
Alan has made a series of mind blowing films of the aquatic world below the surface of The Cosmic Pond. Submerge yourself in the latest underwater otherworld here.
It has been a magical introduction to Allenheads. We have been inspired by the landscape. It was particularly wonderful to spend time in a canoe, drifting in the reservoir. The barbeques have been awesome too!