Long time Measure collaborator Duncan Whitley has been commissioned by the B-side festival to make a new site-specific work. The festival itself features ten days of exhibitions and events across the Isle of Portland.
Writing of Stones is a site-specific sound work by Duncan Whitley, created for St. George’s Church on Reforne. The artist’s haunting installation resonates within the fabric of the church – built in the mid-eighteenth century of Portland stone – occupying its pews, galleries and nave with the ethereal and elusive medium of sound.
The installation invokes the idea of St. George’s and its cemetery as a quiet witness to its environment; testament to human and ecological narratives. Informed by obscure tales from Portland history and folklore, its three ‘chapters’ (The Storm, The Working of Stone, and The Hymn) take us on an abstract journey woven through sound, architecture and memory.
St. George’s Church: Declared formally redundant in the 1970’s, St. George’s Church and its graveyard stand alone on a flat piece of land on “Tophill”, a kind of monument to Portland. At the time of its consecration it was the only parish church on the island: a centripetal entity drawing in folk from Chiswell, Fortuneswell, Easton, Weston, Southwell, Wakeham and Portland’s other villages. Long after the establishment of several other churches on the island (contributing to the decreasing demand for services at St George’s), Portlanders continued to hold their burial services there. The municipal cemetery, in use today, sits just to the south of St George’s, contiguous to the old cemetery and overlooked by the church.
The majority of the headstones surrounding St George’s are, like the church itself, cut from Portland stone: eulogies and remembrances carved into the white limestone, quarried and raised from the land by the islanders remembered here. The graveyard reads like an archive of sorts: to a “kimberlin” (Portland dialect for “outsider”), it is a library of obscured tales; for those on the island, a repository for individual and communal memories.
5th September – 14th September, 10:00am – 5:00pm
St Georges CCT
Reforne, Wide St