Green Language

Created in collaboration with eco-poet Chris Poundwhite, Green Language offers a unique perspective on the ever-present Folkestone Downs. Through a blend of transportive soundscapes and poetry, we explore its rich ecosystem and consider our relationship to this integral part of the local landscape.

We visited a site known as Holywell Coombe on three occasions on the day of the summer solstice: dawn, the solar zenith, and dusk. We made observations and field-recordings at three distinct locations: Holywell Fen (or St Thomas’s Well / The Holy Well – TR222381), Round Hill Holloway (on a chalk mound – TR220383), and beneath the Holywell Coombe Viaduct (or A20 flyover / Holywell Field West – TR217381).

This pattern of documentation gave the work a natural triptych structure. The 16 hours and 34 minutes of daylight on the solstice informed the final audio length of 16 minutes and 34 seconds. Over the length of the piece, audio filters slowly sweep through the frequencies, narrowing in bandwidth to attenuate traffic noise and isolate bird song.

Chris Poundwhite’s accompanying poems dispense with conventional grammar in favour of layered repetitions, fragments and recombinations of language, which reflect the way in which birds are thought to hear, not so much individual notes and pitch, but rather the overall shape and pattern in sound.

Green Language was commissioned by SALT Festival of the Sea and Environment 2019 and exhibited in a shipping container on Folkestone Harbour Arm.