This audio work, part of my project Singing Over the Bones (2020) that also involved a live performance at Baltic 39, Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2020, was recorded in a fissure at the entrance to a limestone cave system in the North Pennines. In one of the caves, fossilised remains of a woman, cave bear, brown bear, wolf and lynx were found dating from the last Ice Age. Fissure is a spontaneous vocalisation in response to the cave environment. The whistling and low humming, also recorded onsite, were provided by Connor Mulley, my collaborator on this and other work. The recordings were made on a freezing day in February, with snow on the ground and in the fissure, an embodied connection with the Ice Age ancestors, human and earthothers. The intention was to evoke multiple temporalities, and dissolve human/other-than-human boundaries, communicating embodied experience of that environment.
Ethnographic research revealed that local people referred to a ‘spirit’ or ‘fairy’ or ‘hobthrush’ as occupying the cave. This entity traditionally helped local farmers and leadminers, completing tasks overnight. I conflated this folk being with the Palaeolithic woman’s remains found there: a primordial Mother archetype, dwelling in and manifesting through that place in ways that are appropriate to that particular moment. This present moment is one of climate and ecological crisis: she calls from the cave connecting us with the deep time of the rocks, themselves carrying fossils of long-dead, extinct beings, and the continuum of life on Earth.