The UK debut of the immersive psychoacoustic sound artwork, ‘Entirely hollow aside from the dark’ by AlanJames Burns

‘Entirely hollow aside from the dark’, Photo by AlanJames Burns (Smugglers Cave, Portrane, Co Dublin)
‘Entirely hollow aside from the dark’, Photo by AlanJames Burns (Smugglers Cave, Portrane, Co Dublin)

Following the huge success of an Irish nationwide tour, visual and environmental artist AlanJames Burns is bringing his critically acclaimed immersive psychoacoustic sound artwork, Entire hollow aside from the dark, to Creswell Crags in Nottinghamshire (3–7 September).

The Creswell Crags site hosts a work that explores themes of mental health and the environment. The cave recently hit the headlines as it contains the largest concentration of apotropaic marks, or symbols to ward off evil and misfortune, ever found in the UK. These marks are also described as ‘Witches Scratches’ as they resemble thin fingernail marks. Together with his creative team, Burns will adapt his work specifically for the Creswell Crags, which also boasts Britain’s only example of Ice Age Rock Art which dates back to around 13,000 years ago.

‘Entirely hollow aside from the dark’, Photo by Trevor Whelan (Smugglers Cave, Portrane, Co Dublin, 2016)

Burns’ work, which was made in collaboration with writer Sue Rainsford and sound editor Ian Dunphy , explores mapping human consciousness using audio visuals, sound and psychoacoustics. Viewers are led by a guide who escorts them to the cave at night to experience the immersive work. The natural caverns are used as a metaphor for Mother Earth’s thoughts — a narration can be heard that is sporadic at times and echoes as a symphony throughout the space. Mother Earth voices her regrets as an inner dialogue which mirrors thoughts in the human brain. Claire Howlin, who is a music psychology researcher, collaborated with Burns on this UK project. Together they noticed similarities between mental health and the environment; paralleling our earth with an individual’s mind. The breathtaking work aims to break down the stigma that surrounds mental health and hopes to encourage environmental sustainability.

Says Burns: ‘We all too often talk about what we think and rarely about how we think. The aural mind is often full of thoughts darting around, hard to follow, disconcerting at times. This artwork presents the thoughts of a relatable Mother Earth character moving from audio speaker to speaker, through the natural environment of a cave, achieving a relatable parallel to these processes of the human mind.’

Creswell Crags, ‘Entirely Hollow Aside from the Dark’, Artist AlanJames Burns. Image credit Stephen Garnett Charlotte Graham Photography

Watch a teaser of the work in Ireland here:

To read more see:

Entirely hollow aside from the dark takes place on September 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 2019 at 20:45 and 22:00. Click the link below to book your tickets:

Freelance journalist covering fine art, photography, film and tech. UK based

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store