Campanologia, 2011


Campanologia is a score for bells, performed on a bell tower, accompanied by a set of hand chimes presented in an engraved oak chest and limited edition printed score.

This work was created during a residency ‘The Department of Overlooked Histories’ at Wysing Arts Centre and was created in collaboration with the Bourn ringers and experts from Cambridge University.

Exploring the history of ringing as a mode of communication, Smith mapped the mathematical diagram of a method traditionally played by the church’s ringers onto the geographic area over which the sound could be heard. Using the thoroughfares and byways of the village of Bourn to dictate the composition Smith then converted this geographic map back into sound, creating a sonic rendering of the landscape over which the sound could be heard. The composition takes a journey from the bell tower, down all village roads, to the extent of the parish boundary.

The resulting composition incorporates a series of transitions in order to be played in accordance with the practice of change ringing.

The score was rung in Bourn church as a public performance on Saturday 12th November 2012.

To accompany the performance Smith also created a set of handchimes, courtesy of Whitechapel Bell Foundry, to tonally match the bells in Bourn Church. These are presented in an oak chest which has the score engraved on its lid. This work was exhibited at Wysing Arts Centre along with a limited edition print of the score. Gallery visitors are invited to play the score themselves using the hand chimes.

Campanologia is part of an ongoing project by the artist to explore the history of bell ringing as an ancient form of communication.