Where do we go from here? Cove 2020 Residency

revisiting and revisiting and revisiting

Some works are never finished. They are just an on-going cyclical process, of constant re-visiting, tweaking, altering and re-examining.

For my second visit to Cove Park, my understanding of the area develops. Like Barrow, I’m interested in the relationship between environment and industry that exists here, picturesque shortbread tin landscape meets MOD submarine base, marine litter, and the constant drone of machinery.

Ideas of wilderness must be re-defined here.

It is beautiful, and remote and rural, but I can still see and hear the road constantly. Car engines infiltrate the audible landscape. I try to out-drive this noise. This is obviously not possible. So I walk out of it. Heading up and into the hills at last the audible environment ceases it’s endless droning and adopts the sound-land-scape of the less travelled. There are still human elements here, steps cut alongside the rock, paths worn up the hillside, a concrete dam, a walkers guide post, but they do not dominate. The aerials and masts fall out of view.

Not that I am looking for permanent escape. I am no hermit, and not ready to abandon my devices, vehicles, light bulbs – just yet. So I return to the constant hum, bouncing back down the hillside.

I am reminded of renovating my home and studio, when I first introduced the fridge-freezer into the space, and then the boiler, and the stove – so much noise created in what was previously an unappreciated haven!

I board a ferry, with plans soon altered by the weather but enjoy the throm of the ferry engine, watching the weather front move as a curtain across the Clyde straight over us as if we were smaller than ants. We are smaller than ants. I have a coffee, buy some fresh bread and return to the ferry terminal to await the weather.

At home, a friend had mentioned a children’s book purchased for her grandchild, which plays the songs of various birds. ‘If you take it out into the garden, the birds come!’ – she said once. This idea of calling the birds sits with me. I alter the Sound Horns, so that they may call the frogs that are not quite into full season just yet here at Cove, but last year dominated our experiences. A frog chorus.

I take the installation apart, and put it back together again. This is part of my working process. Replacing one piece at a time until eventually the whole work has evolved. In this endless weather the work goes out to stress test the upper limits, to wear in new parts and look for potential edits.

The Sound Horns become a work of ritual, a nod to this industrial/environment relationship, the human sharing the space of the other.

sound horn sketch 1_lowres


sound horn sketch 4_lowres





Sound Horn was developed at Cove Park during the Cryptic Spring residency 2020. Special thanks to the Cryptic team for a wonderful opportunity to keep nudging this work into it’s full potential.

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