Artist Garrett Phelan recording sound in the field where the Battle of the Somme took place.

RECITATION REVISED: Repeating aloud, imagining and feeling at the same time

This sound work employs Orpen’s poem A Memory of the Somme as a textual source. Orpen sent the poem to Evelyn St George, his patron and lover, whose own son died fighting in the war. The poem conveys a sense of what Orpen experienced during his first visits to the Somme and the profound impact it had on him. ‘Then this place was Hell – now all is Peace’, he wrote.

Phelan’s sound work (below) comprises segments of different readings of the poem made over the course of a lengthy recording session and edited into one track (5:12 min). During each reading, Phelan progressed through different approaches and emotional responses, transforming Orpen’s text into a work of more personal resonance.

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