Capeli: Capel Y Graig

Capel y Graig’s second event  – an installation and performance by arts group GWRANDO part of the Capeli: 2005-2010 exhibition for Ceredigion Museum.

Capeli 2005 — 2010, at Ceredigion Museum, showed work from GWRANDO’s five-year project Capeli. The exhibition ran alongside the Museum’s ‘Preachers and Pulpits’ exhibition, from 26th March until the 18th of June 2011.
There was a gallery talk/performance on the 1st of April at 1.30, offering an insight into the collaboration and the themes and aims of the project. There was also a choral performance at Ceredigion Museum on the 8th of June , and an associated site-specific installation/performance at Capel-y-Graig, Furnace, on the 12th of June.

Roedd Capeli 2005 — 2010, yn Amgueddfa Ceredigion, yn dangos gwaith o brosiect pum mlynedd GWRANDO, sef Capeli. Cynhelir yr arddangosfa ochr yn ochr ag arddangosfa ‘Pregethwyr a Phulpudau’ yr Amgueddfa, rhwng 26 Mawrth a 18 Mehefin 2011.
Roedd perfformiad/darlith yn yr oriel ar 1 Ebrill am 1.30 yn cynnig golwg cyffredinol ar y cydweithio a themâu a nodau’r prosiect. Roedd perfformiad corawl yn yr Arddangosfa ar 8 Mehefin ac hefyd gosodiad/perfformiad safle-benodol cysylltiedig yng Nghapel-y-graig, y Ffwrnais, ar y 12fed Mehefin.

The project brings together music and fine art, and the exhibition includes film, photography, and text; and will display ephemera from GWRANDO’s community events, performances, installations, interventions, and interviews. Also showing will be previously unseen work, including a multi-screen installation showing films of 21 chapels located in the Teifi valley. There are two performances associated with the exhibition, presenting some of the experimental choral music performed at previous Capeli events, and one work developed especially for this exhibition.

Mae’r prosiect yn cyfuno cerddoriaeth a chelfyddyd gain, ac mae’r arddangosfa’n cynnwys ffilm, ffotograffiaeth, a thestun: bydd yn arddangos effemera o ddigwyddiadau cymunedol, perfformiadau, gosodiadau, ymyriadau a chyfweliadau GWRANDO. Bydd gwaith cwbl newydd yn cael ei arddangos hefyd, gan gynnwys gosodiad aml-sgrin sy’n dangos ffilmiau o 21 o gapeli yn nyffryn Teifi. Mae dau berfformiad yn gysylltiedig â’r arddangosfa, yn cyflwyno rhywfaint o’r gerddoriaeth gorawl arbrofol a berfformiwyd mewn digwyddiadau Capeli blaenorol, ac un gwaith a ddatblygwyd yn arbennig i’r arddangosfa hon.

GWRANDO’s work has been described as ‘exciting’, ‘innovative’, and ‘very moving’ – with an approach that opens up ‘new dialogues between art, public performance/participation and community’. GWRANDO’s explorations of chapels and chapel culture are personal and critical evocations of encounters and meetings between people and places. Through the project, GWRANDO discovered tensions between Christian beliefs and the desire for familiarity and continuity; the problems of preservation strategies that privilege architectural authenticity over continuing use and function; and the importance of sound: the word, and the song, in the chapel tradition.

Ymhlith y geiriau sydd wedi’u defnyddio i ddisgrifio gwaith GWRANDO mae ‘cyffrous’, ‘arloesol’ a ‘teimladwy iawn’ — a dywedwyd ei fod yn agor ‘deialogau newydd rhwng celfyddyd, perfformiad/cyfranogiad cyhoeddus a chymuned’. Mae archwiliadau GWRANDO o gapeli a diwylliant y capel yn deffro barn ac atgofion personol am ddigwyddiadau a chyfarfodydd rhwng pobl a lleoedd. Drwy’r prosiect, darganfu GWRANDO densiynau rhwng credoau Cristnogol a’r dyhead am y cyfarwydd a pharhad; problemau strategaethau diogelu sy’n breintio dilysrwydd pensaernïol dros ddefnydd a swyddogaeth barhaus; a phwysigrwydd sain: y gair, a’r gân, yn nhraddodiad y capel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images from the GWRANDO event in Capel y Graig, 12/06/11.

One Reply to “Capeli: Capel Y Graig”

  1. The evening begins with the audience entering to the gentle sound of harmoniums emanating from Lou Laurens’ Harmonium installation. Laurens has filled the surface of Capel Y Graig’s harmonium with an array of small photos of harmoniums encountered during the last 6 years of the project, presented in gilt frames with candles and dense smelling lilies, creating a shrine to the instruments and the encounters.

    A video camera focused on the harmonium projects a live image on the wall opposite. Below which is a collection of old record players for Jacob Whittaker’s ‘Vinyl Altar’ live audio work. Other old record players around the space wait for interaction.

    On the opposite side of the room the chapel’s piano holds a bilingual collection of old books. Bibles, hymnals and Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ all stacked together give off a distinctive smell, mingling with the pungent lilies and warm valve amplifiers.

    A small laptop presents a slideshow of images from the recent Capeli: Aberteifi project with headphones attached offering interviews from members of Teifi valley chapels To the right a publication from the project gives further insight into the personal histories and lives of Aberteifi chapels.

    ‘The Pilgrim’s Process’ a video series by Whittaker is presented in three parts in the opposite corner to the turntable arrangement. The series begins with disrupted analogue video made with a found camera it is presented in black and white on a TV and it examines the fragility of chapel architecture in the landscape and the changing role of the buildings.
    The second video also on a TV begins with the digital breakdown of the first film during it’s digitisation. Two digital images appear corrupted and broken. Competing and overlapping the colour digital footage eventually emerges and continues the journeys through the landscape. The first distinct and whole images in this work, ‘Pererin Digidol’, are of Capel Y Graig during it’s renovation, we see the yellow interior and remnants of its former function alongside the cement mixer and workbench.
    The third video projected alongside the pulpit documents the interiors of 21 chapels visited in the Teifi Valley for the project in 2008. The video is now high quality digital, a slow contemplative study of light entering the buildings, the details highlighting the meticulous care and dedication of the congregation while other aspects illustrate the growing problem of maintenance and restoration.

    As the harmonium sounds fade Lou Laurens introduces the evening’s performance by inviting the audience to share a silence, a listening exercise undertaken in the Teifi valley chapels during 2008’s ‘Acoustic Fingerprints’ project.

    The silence is immersive, the acoustics resonant; each and every tiny sound emerges and interacts with one another. Whittaker moves from the crowd of turntables and presses something on a nearby hi-fi.

    ‘Beibl’ a new recorded digital work by Whittaker begins from the silence as we hear the first lines from the gospel of John –
    ‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’.
    The voice repeats, in the other speaker a Welsh voice reads the same passage overlaying with the English. The voices repeat, another joins in, now in French, then Mandarin, Spanish, German, Dutch, Hindi, each beginning in the opposite speaker as the previous passage ends and begins again. Massing in density the sound of the voices build and build until they are rhythmic almost indistinct, but could it be that somehow those languages we understand remain audible. It takes almost takes 7 and ½ minutes build to a total of 32 languages, the sound is almost unbearable, then it ends – no, not quite, a single voice again –
    ‘In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’.

    After a moment a slow low drone of a hand pumped harmonium begins and builds as Laurens, now standing begins to play and sings the hymn ‘Mi Glywaf Dyner Lais’ (I hear a gentle voice), the simplicity and beauty of the solo voice after the complexity of the preceding piece creating a rich and intriguing contrast for the ear.

    Following the hymn Laurens’ recorded voice begins to read from diaries made during the ‘Acoustic Fingerprints’ project. They are descriptions of places, sounds, and conversations with chapel secretaries encountered, scrambled to protect the identities of individuals speaking about their chapels. Paul, an assistant seated in the audience moves to pick up a large book near the camera, Whittaker moves and takes the camera off the tripod focussing it on the now open book. Laurens begins to play the harmonium again sings ‘Arweiniad yr Ysbryd’ a hymn by eminent Welsh hymn writer William Williams Pantycelyn. The song was sung in each of the chapels visited during in 2008, and is now repeated as the voice reads the diaries and the projection shows the book. On reaching the end of the book, Laurens stops singing, the camera is re-positioned and the diary readings are faded out.

    A short introduction describes the following recorded improvised turntable mix, a ‘Vinyl Altar’ created on found and faulty record players and combining loops of Beatles music by Arthur Fiedlers Boston pops with Cymanfa Ganu Plant Cidweli along with a stirring Welsh sermon by the Rev. Christmas Evans recited by Rev. Jubilee Young.

    Following the audience is informed that the next work will be participative and are given song sheets with the words to both ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘Pererin Wyf’, these are the same Welsh words as for ‘Arweiniad yr Ysbryd’ but now is sung to the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’.
    Whittaker begins the work by introducing the first vinyl record, Iris Williams singing ‘Pererin Wyf’ and soon follows that by gradually building looped fragments of ‘Amazing Grace’ on bagpipes. Laurens moves over to one of the turntables away from the group and switches it on. The noise is abrupt as the needle jumps on the record and quickly the sound disappears into the now growing noise from the main setup. Proceeding around the room the other turntables are switched on to give a spatial element to the work, creating a complex rhythms which ring and resound in the wide open space of the chapel. As the rhythms shift fragments of other versions of ‘Amazing Grace’ emanate from the repeating drones, Laurens begins to sing. Another layer of sound builds as her voice merges and emerges into and out of the looped turntable rhythms. Laurens moves and switches of the record players and as she does the mix of loops simplifies and decreases in volume leaving the live voice. The audience is conducted to begin the hymn, each verse in English and in Welsh one following the next.

    The communal singing of this extended bilingual hymn is the final part of this special evening marking the end of the Capeli project for GWRANDO (at least for a while) and the beginning for new performances and exhibitions in Capel Y Graig.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: