Circumstantes

Film, 2017, 19:00 min

A collaboration with Aaron McPeake

Sankt Petri Church, Klippan, Sweden 

Camera: Alex Marshall, Sound: Aaron McPeake
Light operators: Owain Caruana-Davies, Kit Fretz

 

 

The film documents a light and sound performance within Sigurd Lewerentz's photo-Brutalist church (1962-66), best known for the idiosyncratic rule that no brick be cut. Circumstantes, the Latin word for encircling, was the term Lewerentz adopted for the situation where the celebrants surround the performance of the sacraments. In my work, a collaboration with the artist Aaron McPeake, this is interpreted through three encircling vertical slots of light, which sweep the space. The alternating directions of these scanning arcs are determined by Lewerentz’s pattern of slots on the south wall of the church, translated by me into a score which determines the ringing of four ‘singing’ bowls used as directional cues, cast in bell bronze by McPeake.

Filmed on the autumnal equinox, three slots of light illuminate the floor, walls and ceiling; at times these slots align, in patterns determined by the speed of the scans which is left for the operators to improvise. The scans constitute a kind of drawing of the space through light, revealing the materiality and complex geometry of Lewerentz’s extraordinary vaulted space. Recorded over the course of 12 hours – from midnight to midday – the film registers daylight first entering into the space which is lit by just three small windows and two skylights. The film starts with the sound of the constantly dripping baptismal font, where the swelling ground metaphorically opens up to reveal a water-filled slot, and ends with the church's own bells.

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