TURN is a performance project created especially for the Govan Dry Docks. Across three significant evenings in the September lunar calendar, a composition for bells and voice will ring out from the Docks, as the low tide turns.
Bringing together radio-broadcast speech, a bespoke choir and a series of hand-cast bells made in and with the people of Govan, TURN will be a unique performance of people, place and acoustic instrumentation.
The TURN project draws a number of ‘circles’ in its creation. It pays attention to the macro-cycles of moon and tide, and the project itself is structured around and consciously integrated into these systems. Within this we draw geographical circles in and around Govan, with the creation of hand bells and ringing of church bells, as well as presenting the stories of local life cycles and change, through the voices of women celebrating their birthdays.
Govan Dry Docks
The Govan Dry Docks, or ‘Graving’ Docks, are located on Govan Road, to the east of Govan Cross. They were created between 1875 and 1897 to serve Govan and Glasgow’s prolific shipbuilding industries. Boats were docked across all three docks for repair and painting, and at 880 feet in length, Dock 3 was the biggest of its type at the time of building, vast enough to accommodate two ships. Decommissioned in 1988, the docks have remained undeveloped and in areas have seen processes of ruination and ‘re-wilding’.
The TURN performances are being created for the area surrounding Dock 3, where we will accommodate audiences across three evenings in September.
TURN will present the voices of Women celebrating their birthdays on the three performance evenings in September.
These voices will be broadcast live from the docks, and transmitted to the audience via FM receivers.
Are you a woman whose birthday falls on the 1st, the 16th or the 30th of September? Do get in touch if so!
In addition, we will be working with Sunny Govan Radio to create a series of programs around the performances to give insight into the processes behind these events.
Hand Cast Bells
As part of the project, 29 individual, hand cast bells are being created for organisations and individuals in Govan.
Each recipient selects a word or phrase they wish to ‘ring out,’ which is cast in relief on their Bell. The bells will all be rung as part of the performances, before being gifted to the relevant people and groups permanently.
All the bells are made from Bell Bronze with a sandcasting method in our homemade foundry at GalGael.
So far we have made bells for:
- Govan Allsorts
- Prophet Scotland
- Govan Fair
- Govan C
- Govan Housing Association
- Sunny Govan Radio
The TURN project is working to re-activate some of the dormant bells lying in towers within Govan and surrounding areas. We hope to draw a ‘circle of bells’ around the docks, and for bells in surrounding Glasgow districts (on both north and south banks for the river) to ring ceremoniously around the docks. We aim to link these bells with the tidal patterns of the Clyde, using a small computer created to read the movements of the Govan waters. We hope to enable these bells to ring again at each low turning tide, throughout the month of September. By creating new mechanisms to re-sound these bells, we also hope to help re-instate the old Govan tradition of ‘ringing in’ the start of the Govan Fair in future years, and to enable the churches to sound their bells once again on special occasions.
Moon & Tide
The entirety of TURN takes place within one lunar month, which happens to coincide with the calendar month of September.
Performances will take place on the new moon (1st), full moon (16th), and the last day of the lunar cycle (30th).
All performances will coincide with the low, turning tide.