Accompanying our Ways of knowing exhibition at Brixworth Country Park is Counterpoint – sound works created by artists and musicians engaging with and amplifying natural forces and elements.

Headphones have been installed at Brixworth from 19 August 2023 – 31 October 2023 to create a listening circle, inviting visitors to focus on a single sense, and imagine the physical presence of the sonic landscape as its individual components are revealed through the aural textures of plants, wind, water and wood.

You can also listen to the Counterpoint playlist below:

Daniel Garcia is an experimental musician who collaborates with dancers, artists, musicians, and the natural world. As a DJ he builds haunting electronic ambient soundscapes. Daniel is presenting Glass Harp at Brixworth, which is full of ethereal and intense harmonies and melodies that can heighten our sensations.

Yagi Lyota’s Vinyl (Claire de Lune & Moon River) begins with the sound of a needle being lowered onto the grooves of a record. Gradually the music becomes more and more indistinct, until we hear the sound of water as the ice the record has been made from melts away. The music has evaporated and we are left with the sound as a memory.

Matti Palonen is a Toronto musician and luthier. Together with artist Jurgita Žvinklytė, Matti builds Tree Harp sculptures in harmony with their surroundings. For their first project they installed strings into the burned cedar trunks in his parent’s woodlot. The improvisation presented at Brixworth was inspired by a Blue Jay.

Atilio Doreste is a walker, artist, photographer and phonographer, based on the Canary Islands. The video work Alisio Eléctrico depicts a scene devoid of human presence; within a rugged, arid landscape, a wiry tree is playing a guitar. The melancholy sound seemly reflecting its surroundings.

Russick Smith is cellist, multi-instrumentalist and composer known for his performances in natural and non-traditional locations. He has created a simple Water Harp, using three strings and tuners, and dampened the upper order harmonics, which is played by the movement of water in a river.

Tosca Terán is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is a confluence of art, ecology and craft. From the Midnight Mushroom Music archives and the Mycelium Martian Dome to fungi-controlled VR experiences, Tosca constructs installations collaborating with nonhuman life, asking people to consider nonhuman sentience and how humans move within and impact the shared environment. Working with purpose-built circuits which detect micro-fluctuations in conductivity, Tosca places electrodes into fungal mycelium, translating the biodata in realtime to control synthesisers, generating enigmatic musical patterns of sound.

Zimoun’s work explores the mechanical and the living, and exists between order and chaos. He uses simple and functional components to explore the rhythm and flow of vibration and sound. For the work presented at Brixworth Zimoun has focused on the acoustic hum of the natural phenomena of 25 woodworms eating wood.

Professor Chill’s Tito Bustillo Lithophone Performance is a recording that was made by playing musical stalagmites and stalactites in caves in northern Spain that are part of the Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art World Heritage Site. The caves have remarkable acoustics, and there is evidence that the choices of location of paintings nearby were influenced by acoustics and sound. Some of the paintings are 43,000 years old.

Ways of knowing is an exhibition curated by Yasmin Canvin exploring how and where we as individuals fit in the natural world, making connections between the environment and our physical bodies.

Funded by Arts Council England as part of Xylophobia, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art’s two-year programme from 2022-2024.

Named from the fear of wooden objects or forests, Xylophobia addresses issues of place and belonging, which go to the heart of community feelings of exclusion from both the art world and woodland space. With special thanks to Brixworth Country Park Rangers and volunteers, Friends of Brampton Valley Way & Brixworth Country Park, West Northants Council, Nico Kos Earle, and The West Collection.