Anthem was Commissioned by Arts council and Cape Farewell and was launched at The Eden Project. Anthem is a trilogy of musical landscape films with a choral component (sung live for a performance night) that explores ideas on land, place and nation. Anthem was shot in the UK, New Foundland and the Arctic, the music composed and recorded in Santa Fe and Europe. Research was undertaken at the Glasgow Centre for Political song and led to the underlying premise for Anthem to explore ideas around nationality identity and language using the symbols of landscape and song, both of which have long been associated with expressions on nation. The librettos borrowing from sources such as national anthems, geographical terms, place names and etymological meaning.
The project resulted in a collaboration with a range of people such as shepherds, park keepers, geologists, park interpreters, geographers and villagers, artists and organisations. This convergence informed a study into our historical and cultural relationship to environment, resulting in a trilogy of films that explored the connections between people and landscape through balancing components of voice, music, word and image.
In an era of ever-changing migration patterns, Anthem sought to investigate the equation of nationalism and identity. A new type of national Anthem was presented by combining media, drawing, live performance, voice and spectacle. I engaged Ulrike Haage, a German composer whose work is characterised by an incredible intensity and has increasingly concentrated on developing a unique style that fuses poetry and music into a single language.
At the launch of the project the films were projected onto three screens that were suspended amongst the foliage in the Mediterranean biome at the Eden project. Its very name carries the idea of newness, Eden is a place that celebrates our connection with landscape and is in a sense a library of plants. The act of placing a new type of national Anthem within a cultivated landscape that is in a sense both an image of landscape and an actual landscape creates a powerful metaphor to reflect perceptions of nation through symbols.
Please see below a link to an exert from Anthem: