I Would Rather Walk With You (2020-permanent)
Opening August 2020, date TBC
I Would Rather Walk With You is a site-specific, public artwork at The West Wing Battery in Fort Burgoyne, Dover. It invites visitors to experience the West Battery through a sound world that captures its history and future as a community space.
Materials: acousmatic multichannel SAATTBBB choral work and sound installation with voice actors and sound effects from the local community. Created with: Zoom H5, Logic Pro, RX5 Audio Editor, custom speakers and cabinets, infrared sensor, Arduino trigger and SparkFun sound board.
Commissioned for Pioneering Places. Delivered by The Land Trust at Fort Burgoyne, with the assistance of Dover Arts Development [DAD]. Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Kent County Council, Canterbury Christ Church University and Historic England.
Community Engagement: Contribute Your Voice!
We are currently looking for people to create voice recordings and sound effects for I Would Rather Walk With You – and you can do this at home! If you have an interest in Fort Burgoyne, are at a loose end during lockdown, or would like an interesting project for your children and family to take part in from the comfort of your own home, please register to take part here or email email@example.com. By taking part, you will learn new skills in sound recording, voice acting and creating sound effects, that may result in your voice featuring in this artwork. All you need is a mobile telephone and access to the Internet, and we would love to hear from you. The deadline for submitting recordings is Friday 29 May – so please register your interest today!
I Would Rather Walk With You
Impetus & Research
When I visited the West Wing Battery at Fort Burgoyne, I was excited about its possibility as a space whose Victorian history could be remembered through the medium of sound and music. As a location steeped in history, it has many points of interest. The feeling of peace and stillness at the Battery today belies its history. While it has not always been heavily used, it has seen action at specific points in history, such as during World War II when it was reinforced with two-riflemen trenches, and in 1940 when a barrage balloon was tethered nearby to defend against aircraft attack. Prior to WWII, Royal Garrison Artillerymen manned the Battery with the support of volunteers, undertaking similar drills and duties, including testing the guns were in working order by firing them three times consecutively every two years. During this time it is likely that people’s voices, training drills, and gunfire would have been heard. The Battery would have been a hub of activity, even at rest, with men-many of whom were volunteers-discussing daily lives, family and friends, or whistling as they went about their daily duties. When I visit the Battery, I imagine hearing nuanced sounding narratives that capture the history of this unique space.
I Would Rather Walk With You is a site-specific work that explores ‘community’ in the Battery’s past, present and future. It takes the form of a contemporary choral work comprising a choir, voice recordings and sound effects. The work will reference the sense of communality and duty felt by people working together to protect Dover Castle, Dover and the UK as an important Coastal Defence in the Victorian period. I consider this work an act of remembrance to the communities in and surround the Battery, and hope to create a sense of space and time that immerses visitors in its history. The present and future of the Battery will explore its use today, and how it is hoped to become a community space for future generations to enjoy, relax and play in. In 2019, a series of ‘Explorer’s Walks‘ took place for members of the public. Led by local experts, the walks took different routes from Dover Town to the West Wing Battery and explored future uses of the site. Explorer’s Walk participants view the Battery today as a secret garden, a place to take refuge from the world, and a space where a sense of community ownership will develop. These sentiments will be embraced in the work and realised though community engagement activities.
Pioneering Places, part of the national Great Place Scheme, an ambitious project that will make East Kent an even better place to live, work and visit by exploring heritage, developing civic pride and connecting artists and communities. Four projects in Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Ramsgate are being led by cultural organisations to encourage local people to get involved and shape the place where they live. Supported through Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with Historic England and Artswork, the South East Bridge.
- Dover Arts Development: Commission Announcement
- The Land Trust: Fort Burgoyne
- Pioneering Places website: Commission Announcement