CHALK 10 Days Winchester [2015]
Chalkland Symphony

Sound installation presented in City Museum Winchester. Photographs by kind permission of Hampshire Cultural Trust.

Susan Wood uses location recordings to explore places. Through listening to natural and urban landscapes around the Winchester area of Hampshire’s chalkland she produced aural drawings from which she composed a symphony of transient soundscapes glimpsed then gone, echoes of the past, reflections of the present. The installation was sited on the Roman floor in the museum at the feet of a Roman soldier whose body was excavated in Venta's northern cemetery. 'Grave 109 contained the skeleton of an adult male, 1.73m {5’8”} tall, who had died in his mid twenties sometime around AD 330-350.’ A dig on a small site within this cemetery when she was creating the work enabled the artist, thanks to Pre-Construct Archaeology [West], to spend time recording there and to observe the careful uncovering of further skeletons.These sounds open the work. They are followed by recordings made, thanks to The Orvis Company, of fly fishing for trout on a windy day on the banks of the River Test at Kimbridge. The piece then moves outside Winchester to Magdalen Hill, a medieval site the University of Winchester Archaeology Department was excavating. Artists participating in CHALK were welcome there. After this the symphony explores Winchester itself and then closes with recordings from a rural chalkland village. It is a poetic piece which explores the ephemeral, evocative sounds which arise from the chalk landscape.