Orfordness: Robert Macfarlane and Arnie Somogyi involved in site-specific art project

The stark, eerie landscape of Orfordness with its Cold War history and its status as a site of special scientific interest is being celebrated with a new art project designed to promote the Cultural Olympiad.

Untrue Island brings together author Robert Macfarlane, jazz musician Arnie Somogyi and visual artists Jane and Louise Wilson, who use the nature reserve and the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Laboratories as a backdrop for a haunting, site-specific arts project.

“The theme of Untrue Island is the many voices of the Ness,” says Robert, who has written a libretto which has been set to music by jazz musician Arnie Somogyi. “The audience is encouraged to listen and to look.

“We have created a work which will be site-specific and motion-sensitive.”

Improvisations and sound recordings of the Ness are woven into the music by Arnie Somogyi and performed by local vocalist Polly Gibbons, percussionist Jim Hart, and multi-instrumentalist Neil Yates. Artists Jane and Louise Wilson, who were nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999, have created a series of sculptures inspired by a yardstick measure once employed in the film industry.

Sited within the laboratory buildings, they are designed to challenge the sense of scale and ruin, while also pointing to the architecture of forensics and camouflage.

There will be a public performance of the various works on Orfordness on July 8.

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Meanwhile, on July 15 there will be three performances for local residents as part of Orfordness’ annual community open day.

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