LAND OF THE LAMBS Site Specific/Installation – photomontage and ‘everyday’ sounds. Images: 57cm x 66cm: 42cm x 66cm Sound: everyday sounds.
Collaborating with artist Mike Coombs we traced the events of Old Paradise Yard, Lambeth and the neighbourhood. Researching old maps, photographs and documents the work uncovers a deep historical, narrative based on the following timeline.
▪ 1062 The area was known as ‘Lambehitha’ which translates to ‘landing place for lambs’.
Origins suggest a landing stage for lambs transported across the marshlands.
▪ 1255 ‘Lambehitha’ was renamed Lambeth.
▪ 1320 Archbishop’s Palace of Lambeth built.
▪ 1828 Archbishop’s Palace kitchen garden land given to build Holy Trinity Church. At a later date the parsonage and Holy Trinity Boys and Girls School built on the same site. Now known as Old Paradise Yard.
▪ 1940-5 (WWII) The area was bombed. Casualties included Holy Trinity Church, The Royal George, Carlisle Street, Messrs JC &J Field (Soap and Candle
▪ Factory in Royal Street/Carlisle Street), a Music Hall possibly named Shaftesbury Theatre and housing.
▪ Prefabs were erected after the war.
▪ Carlisle Arms, Carlisle Lane (formerly Carlisle Street) demolished to extend the railway.
The Plane Trees were once part of the Archbishops Palace and still remain on the site.
Soundscape: We have used sound to create an aural reflection of the possible sonic history of Old Paradise Yard and its environs. The soundscape you will hear is not truthful. It is constructed from sounds that are similar to sounds that might have been associated with Old Paradise Yard. Some are specific to this site while others are more general: for example, the songs from the First World War, the radio commentary and air raid siren from WW2. There is a sound of bubbling wax as may have been heard in the candle and soap factory, while whale song represents the ghosts of the whales that provided the tallow that lit up the homes of rich and poor before the advent of gas and electric light. There are steam trains and horses hooves; the sound of swimming – at one point the local children swam in a pond created from the ruins of the bombed candle factory. The more recent use of Old Paradise Yard as a Buddhist temple is represented by Buddhist teaching, prayer wheels and bells which mingle with sounds as they might have been in Queen Victoria’s reign along with bombs and sirens of WW2. We have then processed the sounds in different ways, distortion, reverberation, filters etc. Parts of the speech samples used have been chopped and reassembled at random, sometimes appearing to make sense, but in reality not making sense as meaning changes with the order that words are spoken.
There is no definite chronological order to these sounds. We have researched the past 160 years and retold it through sounds and fragments of sounds that echo and intermingle as history does. Time is a distortion. It will take our stories and retell them in its own light. Our truth today will be different to that which future histories will impose upon us. http://soundcloud.com/mike-coombs-5/land-of-the-lambs-making-sense-exhibition-version)