Water Swallows – new sonic artwork

Buxton is an ancient site of water. Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust have worked with artist Amy Sharrocks and BEAM to build a programme of work across the town and in conversation with local people.

Water Swallows is a new sonic artwork for Buxton by Amy Sharrocks, made in collaboration with people who live here, looking at our landscape of water and the experience of living here. The work roams through a landscape of springs and dams, through prehistoric, roman and Celtic histories and modern day lived experience. It wanders through the sounds of rain and rivers, through the ethics of water, the negotiation of natural resources, of commodification and sharing, mineralisation and economies. Begun at a time when Toddbrook Reservoir was threatening to burst its banks and engulf Whaley Bridge, Water Swallows understands what it is like to be overwhelmed. It takes its name from a local quarry, an industrial site which has been re-purposed as a lake, and the title references our daily ritual of swallowing water, our changing land use and agreements as well as the threat of climate change that hangs over all of our heads.

Water Swallows will be broadcast for the first time at 3pm 22 September as a mass listening experience for 500 people on the Slopes. The full version of the work will then be available from the Pump Room all year for free – you can pick up a headset at any point until September 30, 2020 to take the sound work for a walk. An unusual pedestal cabinet has been made by Buxton artist Sarah Brindley as an extraordinary housing for this binaural sound work, in a new collaboration.

The programme includes revivifying the popular Pump Room Live Weekend, which this year looks to water, the environment and wellbeing for its inspiration. The University of Derby will set up a wellbeing tents at the top of the slopes offering free massages. Water Swallows will premiere on the afternoon of Sunday 22nd September through 500 headsets on the slopes. These same headsets will be used on Saturday night for a silent disco which will see a battle of the DJs for songs on a theme of water.