Invisible Structura 1: Body, Sound, Space & Harmony
by David Behar-Perahia, Gloucester Cathedral Artist in residence 2010-2011
This opening performance invited visitors to participate in a large procession through the Cathedral, during which David presented the outcome of his collaboration with a young composer, Edwin Hillier, Master Mason Pascal Mychalysin with the Cathedral Masons, performers Ruth Cross, Katherine Gilks, Belinda Bell and members of the Cathedral Choir, accompanied by Ben Morris on the organ.
The procession started in the big nave and continued via the cloisters, north transept, upper galleries, whispering gallery and back to the nave, mixing both visual and audio languages. This evocative performance is deeply informed by the proportions and the spirit of building techniques of the Cathedral.
Gloucester Cathedral was built in 1066 by the Normans, newcomers to England, who started an exciting age of enquiry into the relationship between human and nature, man and god. An unprecedented concern with scale challenged the power of nature and man - to build and to aspire for the skies.
To reflect this challenging vision, the human body was looked upon as a system of reference that projected forward the use of human scale measurements. This system of measurements was brought from the continent, and reflected the smallest measure of the Pouce (thumb) to the Paume (palm), the Empan (hand span), the Coudee, (cubit), Le Pied (foot) and the largest measure of the Toise (fathom - the span of the outstretched arms), all served as elements in the perception of a human scale. An uplifting and moving experience which resonated with history and place in a highly innovative way.