Liminal: Transient Parish

For Goonhilly Village Green 2015, Liminal imagined a temporary Parish by erecting a bell tower on the Village Green.

Since 2013 Liminal have been making work that explores the relationship between sound and territory. Parishes –territories defined by the earshot of a bell– have formed a central part of this investigation. At Goonhilly Village Green 2015, the sound of the bells both punctuated the passing of time and formed an acoustic substrate to the temporary community that gathered for the event, offering protection and a sense of belonging to those within the bell’s acoustic horizon.

Standing 6m tall, the tower itself is a 1:10 scale model of the radar receiver towers that once stood on Goonhilly Downs. In this way Transient Parish meditates on the way in which towers have evolved in both form and function while so often retaining an imperative to act as a means by which we human beings can reach beyond ourselves. Whether we try to reach God by building towers that reach into the sky, or we use the sound of bells or radio signals to extend this reach, towers have consistently represented our quest for knowledge while also symbolising spiritual hubris.

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Goonhilly Downs were a rich site in which to explore this theme. In addition to the iconic satellite dishes of the Goonhilly Earth Station, the Dry Tree menhir, located very close to the Village Green site, formed another point of departure for Transient Parish. The menhir stands as an early manifestation of the human desire to reach beyond the constraints of our bodies, touching the sky and projecting our imagined influence beyond the confines of the earth. The Dry Tree menhir also forms a central point where the boundaries of the five surrounding parishes of St Keverne, Mawgan-­in­Meneage, Cury, St Martin-­in-­Meneage and Ruan Minor all meet. For Goonhilly Village Green, children from each of these parishes will compose the peals that will sound throughout the day on the five bells in the tower representing each parish.

The Transient Parish tower was built in collaboration with first and second year architecture students from Falmouth University who also supported the delivery of an education workshop devised by Liminal, for five schools within the Keskowethyans Multi-Academy Trust. The bells were kindly loaned by St Mary’s Church, Penzance.

“Whether we try to reach God by building towers that reach into the sky, or we use the sound of bells or radio signals to extend this reach, towers have consistently represented our quest for knowledge…”

More about Liminal
liminal.org.uk