Hinterland: Creative Development – Angus Farquhar

NVA’s Creative Director, Angus Farquhar, provides an insight into the creative development of Hinterland.

Near Cardross, a discrete village on the Firth of Clyde, in the old woods of Kilmahew is what is fabled to be the greatest modernist ruin in the UK, St Peter’s Seminary. What still takes your breath away is the boldness of the original concept, the sharpness of line and the level of experiment through which the two young architects created their love letter to architects Le Corbusier. The first time wandering through the skeletal mega structure, I glimpsed a shadowy figure moving along the high balustrades and froze hearing the random tolling of an old bell. Traces of the past life of the building had re-manifested in a spine-tingling scene worthy of Kubrick or Polanski.

Hinterland our first event in the building stands as an open manifesto for its future use, which will subtly re-animate the degraded skeletal superstructure highlighting architectural details with moving light installations and projection. As protagonists within a monumental sculpture the audience will be able to move freely through the seminary’s main spaces, encountering the integration of polyphonic choral music, textured projection mapping and shifting light forms.

To me, sound is central to a perception of building knowledge from and about a location, and Hinterland includes a choral soundscape by contemporary classical composer Rory Boyle. Haunting and evocative music – recorded with the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir from St Andrew’s University – will be electro-acoustically manipulated. It will seem to emanate from the pores of the building using a multi-speaker array. We wanted the building itself to ‘breathe’.

You have to make a conscious decision to hear the landscape around you, just as it’s good to raise your head above shop level and see the architecture of a city. It’s good to open yourself up to these possibilities. I don’t subscribe to the dogma of Christianity or Islam but they got the ritual right. Music in a dedicated ritual space, it’s very powerful. There’s nothing like it.

Angus wrote an article for the Christmas Edition of the Big Issue (p.7). Please pick up a copy for more on the use of sound at Hinterland.
Hinterland: Creative Development – Angus Farquhar