This is an excerpt from my 40 minute immersive soundscape, incorporating CymaScope imagery by John Stuart Reid. It was first shown at Islington Arts Factory in May 2017 on the opening night of my solo exhibition How Shall I Get Elephants To Stay.
There is little known about St Anne's Well – an ancient holy well, originally called Wealletune after the place-name (Welton, East Yorkshire), adopted by Christianity and re-named St Anne's Well in c.1080. Prior to that it is believed to have been a place of pagan ritual, the well being a portal to the Otherworld. It's particularly meaningful to me as I played around the site of the well as a child. Unaware of the history beneath my feet at that time, I continue to be drawn back there in dreams.
"... the holy well stands before a long, if tiny and ill-lit, corridor of history with doors leading off into many unexpected and little-visited rooms..." James Rattue, author of The Living Stream.
As the soundscape evolves, various bird calls sing out, while at the still centre is the heron. The heron is an enigmatic being richly featured in mythology and folklore. For me, herons can be the most beautiful creatures to grace our skies, and whenever I see one I instinctively feel it is a 'good omen'; somehow they chime with me. In St Anne's Well, the heron may be both guardian and oracle, but always an enduring presence in our subconscious landscapes.
What is a CymaScope? “The CymaScope is a new type of analog scientific instrument that makes sound visible, allowing scientists to see sound's vibrations. Within the instrument the surface of pure water offers a kind of super-sensitive membrane and by imprinting sounds onto the liquid surface, unique patterns of sound energy are created for every unique sound. Just as the invention of the microscope and telescope revealed aspects of the world and Universe that we didn't even know existed, the CymaScope allows the once hidden realm of sound to become visible. And since everything in the Universe is in a state of vibration a tool that shows the structures within sound and vibration can provide important new scientific insights.” John Stuart Reid.
©℗ film, music & concept Gaynor Perry
© Cymascope imagery John Stuart Reid