The soundpiece was devised as an integral part of the installation in the caravan. It played continuously throughout the day as an audio accompaniment to the visual works displayed within the interior CowGirl Parlour space.
The process began with recording conversations with Jonno Rogers, a commercial Dairy Farmer near Ledbury, Annie and Erica at Cannon Frome Court where they keep a small herd of dairy cows and Kate Johnson, the vet and dairy science researcher at the Royal Veterinary College. I wanted to compose a soundscape of voices, bringing together musical images and sonic experiences from a sketchbook of natural sounds gathered over the years.
The sound was designed with the site-specific artefacts of the interior space of the caravan in mind. I wanted listeners to enjoy the quality and detail of the soundscape as well as become absorbed in the atmosphere and sensory impressions of a CowGirl Parlour. The flow was meant to be joined at any point in the cycle. Not everyone would be able to listen to the complete 18 minute piece and would arrive at different places in the sound cycle and this was a consideration in it’s format. I like the idea of being able to switch on our ears and appreciate and celebrate the beauty of natural sounds in this captive imaginary Parlour.
The soundpiece references themes that are present in the CowGirl Parlour performance, particularly those of abundance and mythologies in describing our relationship with the dairy cow from both contemporary and historical perspectives. The presence of dairy in my life has been dominant and I have always accepted it’s presence and continuity. Discussions around economic concerns in farming, food security to lactase persistence has prompted questions about our relationship with the the dairy cow and it’s culture. For me this is ongoing and evolving, and I wanted the soundpiece to reflect on perceptions of dairy and what it evokes in us.