'noisy silences' is a series of listenings that explore the relationship between the soundscape and contemplative practice.
Furness Abbey, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
31st May 2023
I could have sworn I heard a bell tolling behind the modulating whine of the sit-on lawn mower.
Cut grass incense and this mono chord chant support my seclusion, connecting me with brothers lying in peace nearby.
St Leonard's Churchyard, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
22nd May 2023
St Leonard's, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
12th December 2022
Occasionally a sound or image grabs my attention and asks me to stop and notice it, as I'm sure it does for many. This was one of those remarkably unremarkable moments, the view replaying Thomas Merton's words in my head: “...a tree gives glory to God by being a tree.”
Nosworthy Way, Mongewell, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
8th December 2022
Low, rolling washes of rubber on tarmac spill over the bridge, the flam of tyres sounding its joins either end. Intrusive higher registers are lost to the cold, clear skies, leaving space below for the silent sway of teasels.
Oxford University Boat Club, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
17th November 2022
The Sanctuary, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
15th November 2022
St Peter's Church, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
10th November 2022
With eyes closed, backup beepers bring the dilapidated pipe organ to life and bird calls fall from the rafters illuminating the nave. The distant pitch-sweep of brakes mingle with room tone, until I’m gathered in by the slow, staggered rhythm of beads passing through my fingers.
Bradford's Brook, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
3rd November 2022
Distance reduces an aircraft to rumble, revealing the babbles and bubbles of recent rainfall. Owl calls quickly disappear behind questions: How long ‘til pick-up? Is the recorder too precariously balanced? Did I set the sample rate? Why did I feel the need to record?
St John the Baptist, Mongewell, Oxfordshire
15th October 2022
An air of antiquity laid to ruin by the piercing floral scent of a diffuser. Temple bells squeeze through a smartphone speaker, a distraction from thunderous amplified silence of traffic, noise floor and blood flow.
An anxious silence, but with the security of high-gain hearing.
Photo credits: Sarah Bentley
St Mary's Church, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
13th September 2022
Lower Wharf, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
8th September 2022
In one step the hollow alleyway acoustic bursts into a sodden expanse. Leaves and roof tiles glitter above. Below, droplets sound the mezzanine and run-off, the stream. The scene is intimate and closed until thunder draws me outwards, past the Chilterns, someway beyond.
Small Silence [ ] installation, Broad Street Mall, Reading
New Barn Field Centre, Bradford Peverell, Dorchester
3rd September 2022
Neatly draped over parched pasture.
Shielded wires mask the babble of conversation
A bitstream cacophony from silence.
Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight
15th August 2022