Hole in the ground scores art award

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - SOUNDS GOOD -

WOOD­LAND wa­ter mu­sic has helped a rural arts group scoop a top award for the third time in 14 years.

The re­mark­able hat-trick by Stour Val­ley Arts is unique in the his­tory of the pi­o­neer­ing Rouse Kent Pub­lic Art Award, founded by the de­vel­oper of Kings Hill, West Malling.

The three awards have all been for un­usual artis­tic cre­ations in wood­land set­tings.

This year’s win­ner, A Score for a Hole in the Ground, fea­tures a gi­ant steel horn in King’s Wood, Chal­lock. It col­lects wa­ter and chan­nels the drips to cre­ate mu­sic.

The work con­sists of a steel horn, mod­elled on the trum­pet of an old gramo­phone, ris­ing seven me­tres above the ground among the beech trees deep in the wood, a seven-me­tre cham­ber and a pond which is eight me­tres in di­am­e­ter.

The horn am­pli­fies droplets of fall­ing wa­ter in the con­crete cham­ber be­neath, pro­duc­ing a bell-like sound.

The weather changes the mu­sic – for ex­am­ple in a tor­ren­tial down­pour it reaches a crescendo while in the drought it is silent, ex­cept for the ef­fects of the breeze brush­ing against the in­stru­ments.

The work, which cost £87,000, was com­mis­sioned by Stour Val­ley Arts and cre­ated by Lon­don­based Jem Finer.

San­dra Drew, Stour Val­ley Arts di­rec­tor, said: “It’s by far the big­gest project we’ve ever done.

“We had £50,000 to build it with and very quickly we ran out of money.

“We had to use more money from the Arts Coun­cil and Henry Moore Foun­da­tion to get it com­pleted.”

The £5,000 prize money will be used to cre­ate a per­for­mance site and ex­pand the num­ber of mu­si­cal in­stru­ments vis­i­ble to the pub­lic.

The award is sup­ported by Lib­erty Prop­erty Trust UK (for­merly Rouse Kent), Kent County Coun­cil and Arts Coun­cil Eng­land, South East.

A Score for a Hole in the Ground was the win­ner of the Rouse Kent Pub­lic Art Award 2007

San­dra Drew of Stour Val­ley Arts with, from left, Nick Con­don of Lib­erty Prop­erty Trust UK, Richard Cork, chair­man of the judg­ing panel, and artist Jem Finer

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