Don’t Listen Up is collaborative work by artists Magz Hall and Peter Coyte. Who are concerned with air and sea pollution across East Kent, unveiling the garden of England’s dirty secrets, via field and hydrophone recordings.
The work takes the listener to a woodland walk on the edge of Canterbury where nature is drowned out by the humming electric pylons which vibrate through the woods like killer bees. Dumped plastic strawberry pallets litter the fields under these imposing electric towers whose wires stretch over the woodland leading to a former fishing lake cleared by an ear-splitting diesel pump which deafens the air and dulls the senses and throat, sucking away the green stagnant water to divert it on to crops. Across the meadowland a silent threat floats in the air, hissing methane gas seeps out of pipes at Shelford landfill where commercial waste is harvested for power just a few hundred meters from homes. The AM flight transmissions of a major fight paths across Kent, from Europe to the capital, take us a few miles away to the coastal underwater waste pipe at Tankerton where sewage is regularly pumped into the sea by Southern Water.
The pair kick started this collaborative project at the Horsebridge Arts Centre as part of the satellite for Whitstable Bienalle July 2022 and are sharing the work at Sonic Cartography: Soundscape, Simulation and Re-enactment Conference Oct 28th-30th Kent University.
Magz Hall and Peter Coyte have teamed up to make an auditory work which maps and makes audible sea and air pollution. Mixing live real time flight communication across the Thames Estuary and Medway, the pathway of five major flight paths. The piece transmits live air traffic and hydrophone recordings of the polluted sewage ridden sea and mixes field recordings from Shellford commercial landfill site in Canterbury which has been leaking methane gas and pollution into the air, and electrical pylon pollution recorded during a public sound walk around the site.
An aural exploration of sea and air pollution with artists Magz Hall and Peter Coyte which they started during the Whitstable Biennale.
Whitstable and South East beaches are suffering from sea pollution due to untreated waste water being leaked into the sea by Southern water much to my and other sea swimmers dismay.
“Without suitable treatment, waste water we produce every day would damage the water environment and create public health problems. Untreated sewage contains organic matter (carbohydrates, fats, proteins), bacteria and chemicals. Bacteria naturally present in environmental waters do break these substances down, but in doing so they use the oxygen dissolved in the water. If there were large or continuous untreated discharges of urban waste water the result could be too little oxygen for fish and other aquatic life to survive. So the purpose of waste water treatment is to remove organic substances to protect the environment.” DEFRA 2002.
Recent tests have shown the harmful pollution in the sea and rivers. The Thames Estuary is also under the flight paths of five major London airports, Magz has been tuning in in real time to aircraft in the area and Peter collected the sound of the pollution as it goes into the sea with hydrophones.
The area of coast near the sewage treatment site revealed a 70 year old fly tip next to the sea at Tankerton. Old bottles and newspapers from the 1930’s were found, sea erosion has brought them to the surface on the shoreline. There is also a history of putting landfill sites next to the sea in the UK.
Magz is taking a sound walk around country lanes around the Canterbury Shellford land fill site as part of a New Radiophonic event at Gulbenkian Canterbury. Air across the area is also being affected by landfill emissions and electric pylon pollution and water pollution can also be found near the site.
Magz Hall will be taking about her work and current works in progress Radio Playtime and Don’t Listen Up for which she is taking a sound walk through an electronic portal, a sub pylon and the official gateway to a meadow and woodland seeped in landfill pollution. Stinking leaking landfill gas pipes, humming pylons, strawberry plastic tunnels, a dead lake and littered fields. The garden of England’s dirty secret is out join her to sonically map this site.