Tamsin Williams -
Tamsin Williams was commissioned to create Kindred Flight in the narthex of
During her residency Williams recorded memories of the Cathedral guides and
filmed two local gymnasts from Woking Gymnastic Club. The soundtrack was made in
collaboration with sound artist Lewis Williams.
Williams interviewed the Cathedral’s guides, asking them what their most
memorable flight in an aeroplane was, and whether they could describe the first
time they flew in one. One man described aerodynamics. It is an abrupt awakening
to the environment, a scientific language in a church. It describes what we rely
on to literally transport our bodies great distances.
Kindred Flight combines the imagined and the real. The work is inspired by the
many doves and angels ascending and descending throughout the Cathedral. On
entering the narthex a diptych of projections is seen. In one projection a
figure soars slowly up in an arc on one side, and slowly descends on the other.
She appears to pass through the walls like a spirit. Her effortless looped
movement encourages meditation upon the audible stories of experiences of flying
in aeroplanes. The quadraphonic sound can be heard alternately, from a lofty
space above head-height, and from speakers at floor level. ‘I’ve seen too many
bits of broken aircraft in my working life to enjoy flying really’, and other
anecdotes about the second World War followed, for example: ‘I flew up, and
apart from the pilot, obviously, there was me, six mules and no parachute!’
Leaving the installation you walk into the nave, tall and imposing, you look up
in reverence, it could easily house an aircraft. Edward Maufe the architect,
designed Guildford Cathedral in 1932, inspired by aircraft hangars, and created
a suspended space. This is particularly significant as the Cathedral was built
during the first century of commercial air travel.
In life we often yearn to escape, to let our imaginations fly. Now the
technology exists to take us there and see the earth from many perspectives.
Kindred Flight is a reminder of science and technology in contrast to the
mystery of spirituality and the afterlife. The work is cyclical and speaks of
life and death. It is intangible, created with light and sound, media we cannot
Kindred Flight was exhibited at Guildford Cathedral from:
6th November to 2nd December 2000
Williams's work was part of the Art 2000 Projects in Sacred Places where five
arrtists were curator selected, in collaboration, with the venues, to make new
works for five major churches in the south of England. This was important
because it reflected Art and Sacred Places's (then known as Art 2000) desire to
build a new partnership between the church and artists and, in doing so, to
match the best contemporary standards and practice for art events.
The Catalogue for Art 2000 Projects in Sacred Places containing text
contributions by Sacha Craddock and Father Friedhelm Mennekes is available from
Art and Sacred Places.
Project funders and supporters included: The Arts Council, The Jerwood
Charitable Foundation, The Jerusalem Trust, The National Lottery Millennium
Festival Fund, Southern Arts, South East Arts, Woking Gymnastics Club