Artist Blog: Sara Bowler

This year, Goonhilly Village Green founding artist Sara Bowler will be exploring notions of invisible boundaries, following research into land ownership and the history of Trelowarren Estate which once included the land that the Earth Station now stands on.


I’ve been exploring ideas of ‘boundaries’, drawing on exploration and research into the ancient Trelowarren Estate which borders Goonhilly Downs. The estate has been in the Vyvyan family for over 600 years and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1066.

I love historic records and have drawn on them along with more traditional methods such as drawing, landscape modelling, field walking, reading biographic accounts and discussing the estate’s history with Sir Ferrers Vyvyan, its current incumbent and passionate advocate. This has fueled my thinking about boundaries – physical, emotional, visible, hidden – and how this impacts the landscape. Hand tracing contour lines from an OS map helped me understand the lie of the land and its relationship to Goonhilly Downs. And how contrasted the two sites are, principally because of their underlying geology.

It is this difference, from naturally occurring and subsequently man made boundaries, that has fueled my thinking. Halliggye Round, an Iron Age settlement on the Estate is said by Historic England to be the oldest continually inhabited site in the country; yet Goonhilly Downs has never been permanently settled. The Estate is also home to the Halliggye Fogou (underground connecting tunnels whose original purpose remains a mystery) while Goonhilly Downs has the Neolithic Dry Tree standing stone, marking the confluence of five parish boundaries at their highest point. So boundaries are both physical within the landscape and extend over time. Add to this the vertical orientation of the satellite dishes at Goonhilly Earth Station and boundaries are now within the vertical plane and out into space! It’s proving an interesting journey exploring this landscape and seeing how it feeds into the work I’m preparing for The Gathering.

Entrance to Halliggye Fogou
Satellite dish at Goonhilly Earth Station and the Dry Tree Menhir

Sara is working on a sonic presentation for The Gathering on 18th May. Head to the Dry Tree Menhir, a standing stone, marking the boundaries of five parishes near the Village Green to hear her new tonal sound work.

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