community workshops, composition for spatial choir, 4-channel sound installation
Lapides Vivi was commissioned for the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival. This multi-channel sound installation was created in response to the unique architecture and history of Trinity Apse, Edinburgh.
Originally built in the 1460’s as Trinity College Kirk, the church was dismantled in 1848 to make way for the building of Waverley Station. The stones were carefully numbered with the intention of re-building the church on another site, however when reconstruction commenced, and a new site was identified, only a percentage of the original material remained which resulted in the building of the current Trinity Apse.to the displaced history of Trinity Apse and it’s people.
Lapides Vivi (meaning living stones) was a social project that involved piecing together a community, a song and a building. Olivia lead five free choral workshops took place in the Apse over the festival time; the invitation extended to all of Edinburgh and the many international guests who flock to the city during festival month. In each workshop participants revived – through song and sound – the Gregorian hymn painted into the medieval altar piece by Hugo van der Goes, for the original Trinity College Kirk. Interested in creating a situation and opportunity for people to momentarily reclaim an overlooked historic site, the workshops called to question the significance and relevance of spaces like Trinity Apse to people today. What we hear is over 100 different voices singing together across time; a fading music resounding in what is otherwise a silent space.
Two compositional techniques have been used in this new work. The neumes (notes of the chant) are performed in relation to the numbered stones of Trinity Apse – deconstructed from an original form and assembled anew. We also hear an accentuation of specific frequencies produced by the singers – resonances of the voice which normally go unheard. From deep trembling reverberations to shimmering tones chiming through the space, every sound heard in this new work is produced solely by the sung voices of the participants.
Lapides Vivi was commissioned for the 2016 Edinburgh Art Festival, with support from Creative New Zealand. A special thanks to everyone who took part in the workshops in Edinburgh and to all who helped behind the scenes.