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Exhibition by Gloucester Cathedral Artist in Residence

The ancient cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral have witnessed centuries of invention, but nothing quite like the work of artist-in-residence, Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva.

Central to her work is her desire to respond to particularities of a given location, and for her forthcoming show at the Cathedral, she will be presenting a sound installation consisting of 40 individual sounds, played by 40 speakers.

Ceremonial Gown, Gloucester CathedralCeremonial Gown, Gloucester CathedralElpida is Artist in Residence at the University of Gloucestershire's Faculty of Media, Art and Communications and is based at Gloucester Cathedral.
The piece is inspired by the history of the Cathedral's cloisters, and uses the structure of Thomas Tallis' (1505-1585) remarkable 40-voice Spem in Alium. The speakers transmit recorded sounds consisting of a collection of existing bird songs and Gregorian chants by the Cathedral Choir, as well as live transmitted sounds from the garden of cloisters and from the nearby Highnam Woods.

Each of the four sides of the cloisters will represent the four main natural areas of the county of Gloucestershire: Forest of Dean, Severn Estuary and Vale, Cotswold Hills, and Cotswold Water Park, with sounds of typical birds from each area.

Elpida said: "There are also be 40 small portrait heads made out of chickens', pheasants' and ducks' heads. Their strange beauty and elevated status will draw attention to the ambivalence of our relationship with birds, whom we both protect and preserve as well as exploit. The opening night ‘s performance will confuse the discarded and the ceremonial in a gown made out of chicken skins."

Andrew Lansley, audio technician at the University of Gloucestershire, and George Moorey, a Gloucester-based freelance audio technician, have both helped her vision become reality.

The year-long residency is supported by the University of Gloucestershire, the Arts Council England South West, Gloucester Cathedral and Gloucester City Council.

For more information please visit

Motectum: Continues until Sunday May 31, Gloucester Cathedral, 2, College Green Gloucester, GL1 2LR. Admission free, adult donation £3.

Bird photos by kind permission of the North Cotswold Ornithological Society from their forthcoming book "Birds of the Cotswolds: A New Breeding Atlas".
The Wildlife Sound Recording Society has provided all of the bird recordings that are being used in this exhibition.

Source: University of Gloucestershire


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