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Hole Gallery

Rain Choir: Prague Variation

Sebastiane Hegarty
26.9.7.11.

The Prague variation of rain choir draws on the original field-recordings used in a site-specific sound installation for the crypt of Winchester Cathedral, together with additional recordings of the choir coloured by the acoustics of this situation.

The original recordings employed an array of contact and acoustic microphones to explore and disclose the distinct voices and rhythms of the drainage system as it transports rain away from the Cathedrals canopy. The gutters provide a unique spatial acoustic, colouring the sound of rainfall and adding other peripheral notes from the cloistered soundscape of the Cathedral Close. The recordings within the crypt introduce another spatiality, augmented by the occasional conversation of Cathedral guides and visitors. 


Just as the graffiti covering the internal walls creates a visible silence, a palpable but unspoken history, so too the Limestone used to build the Cathedral contains its own petrified voices. Formed from the compressed remains of Palaeolithic corals and foraminifera, the stone contains the fossilised respiration of pre-historic oceans. The external walls of the building are pitted with holes and crevices, evidence of changes in atmospheric conditions and the corrosive effects of acid rain. Through the naive chemical action of dissolving samples of Cathedral limestone in sulphuric acid, the effervescent charnel air of ancient CO2 is made audible. Voices once ‘contained’ in stone are released from permanence and solidity, taking ‘the ear strangely’ within the wet architecture of a quiet geological rain.

With thanks to Dr Simon Park, Winchester Cathedral and the 10days Winchester festival.

Rain Choir: Prague Version