The Organ Project (2018) was developed through a residency at Husk Creative Space, uncovering the site’s disused pipe organ and documenting the journey to recover its silenced voice. The work brought together various strands including visual art, live performance, creative research and collaborative practice.
The project climaxed with Shards and Seams, an exhibition for Husk Gallery, formerly the chapel of the Danish Seamen’s Mission. One of few remaining clues to this history, its organ was designed by Theodor Frobenius and ceremonially opened by Frederick IX and Ingrid of Denmark in 1959. Despite its listed status, the instrument was somewhat neglected and, hovering above the eye line, easily overlooked.
Alongside a series of visual interventions, I arranged the reinstatement of the organ’s blower ~ the device supplying wind to the instrument ~ enabling its pipes to sound. I collaborated with organ specialist, Ian Bell, who produced a report on future work needed for full restoration, including the replacement of missing pipes.
I worked with contemporary composers, Rosie Clements and Reuben Penny, who each wrote and premiered a new score for the instrument in its semi~broken / semi~fixed state. The organ was reconnected in February 2018, for its first public performance in over 30 years.
Documentation by Will Alcock and Jon Bilbrough.
“…there’s only one word that comes to mind: reverence. I remember on opening night when the organ started to play; the feeling of seeing something so forgotten, a dusty antique, take centre stage again was a special moment. Something everyone had essentially given up on demanded renewed respect and attention.”