Survey by Qualaroo

In Audible: The Baroque Cello Project

Arnolfini regularly supports a number of local and emerging artists on an annual basis through providing in-kind rehearsal and studio space, mentorship and opportunities to present work to a public audience. We aim to highlight what goes on ‘backstage’ in a series of blogposts, detailing forthcoming and ongoing projects we are involved in.

In Audible: The Baroque Cello Project

...nothing in isolation...   everything in flux...   ideas swimflickswimming inthroughout lightshadowdark...       to focus again...       open in develop in out outthroughin...     working with time     emerging from kinetic connectivities    exploring sensual transformations    tree to music machine     aesthetic melding to function merging with aesthetic    long-term processes already in motion    one weaving strand comprising audio/visual installation with performance finding an ending late in 2014...


Leona Jones - a relationship with Arnolfini developing during a Performance Writing MA based in the Reading Room but allowing her work to spread around the building and spill out into the city a relationship growing post-MA with an invitation to contribute to Arnolfini’s ’34 Bristols’ and the development of a sound/text work with regular collaborator Siôn Dafydd Dawson.                                                               

Siôn Dafydd Dawson – musician equally happy playing acoustic and electric gigs with cello, baroque cello and guitar relishing the freedom of improvisation and the discipline of classical music           preparing to study Historical Performance at post-graduate level commissioned luthier Adam Winskill to craft the Baroque cello at this project’s core.

Adam Winskill - classically-trained violinist who discovered the challenging intricacies of violin making after graduating studying for another four years at Newark School of Violin Making led to current employment with a fine instrument restorer.    

Jeff Chapman - camera operator/DoP well-respected for skill in lighting, initiative and teamwork known to Leona for several years while waiting for the right time to work together.

Arnolfini - providing the support necessary to allow development of this long-term project 

Four people and a gallery – and...

                                           ...regular up-dates of progress will be noted here...

 In Audible: The Baroque Cello Project has financial support from Arts Council England and QuadConsult Limited, Cardiff

Craftart to artcraft - capturing, portraying and considering the development of a baroque cello from raw wood to its premier public presentation.  Through the coming year a group of multi-skilled people are working to create an installation/performance centred on the emergences and transformations inherent in the progression from Tree to Music Machine brought about by the intervention of minds and bodies on raw materials and sounds.  Forming, growing, and crossing boundaries of instrument and music performance, sonic/art installation, and the crafting of wood, the outcome will be presented in the autumn of 2014.


you  -  reading these marks      marks held afloat on turbulent seas of silent somethings and nothings                             you -   transsomethingsandnothingslatemeaning         as meaning unravels         unravellingtravelin  infinite meanings for us   (and for you)    as     idea...   light...       idea        alights touchesbrushessfocusesssconnectssss                ssparkssssslightshadowdarkshadowlightSssssssss          scircles circlewavewaverippleripples     currents of rhythm     pulsingpulsingpulse pulse pulse in

=  you  -     watching          not yet hearing     still further from listening         =

   in clock time       tick   tock            till                it              will              p    a    u   s    e            we          re-weaving       re-ravelling       re-rooting         our tactile act flowing inoutthroughover this taciturn boxful of nothings and ones    


For me, the appeal of collaboration is the opportunity to explore the possibilities of transcending boundaries.  This project offers the group a chance to produce a joint work of shared ideas that will cross the lines between classical music, sonic and visual art, and craftsmanship. As a musician, In Audible: The Baroque Cello Project is giving me an opportunity to stop and consider what has been achieved musically since Baroque times, and experiment with ways of combining the sound-world of Western European music in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with today’s musical and extra-musical possibilities.

Baroque cellists train to play the cello using fundamentally different playing techniques from contemporary methods.  It’s known as Historically Informed Performance Practice. It is not an attempt to copy the musicians of the past, playing the musical styles of a bygone era exactly as they would have been played.  This is impossible; it’s a broken tradition. However, we attempt to revive the sound-world of the past through combining the musical technology of the time with information from surviving written accounts of the period. These now often over-looked traditions are then given new life by each individual player’s personal creativity and musicality.  The music of well-known composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Arcangelo Corelli, JS Bach, GF Handel, through to early Classicists such as WA Mozart and Joseph Haydn, performed by Baroque players on Baroque instruments allows contemporary listeners to experience a totally different palette of sounds.

Baroque music stems from the dance, with movement and air being central to the way we play. As bass instruments the cello’s role within any ensemble is to be the rhythmic and harmonic anchor. Gesture is central to communication in an ensemble, and as the Baroque cello is not supported by a spike cellists have greater freedom of movement. The instrument feels closer as you play it, making Baroque playing much more of a physical, as well as musical, experience.



not narrative


no only              instants

                          inhabit in                    instants

No Narrative

no narrative of continuous chant beginning middle endings chant begins middlings ends chant begins middles endings chant begins chant ends chants chantschanting chantings

only                    instants

inhabiting          instantiation

in an instant      materiality shadows as lit-up memories peer forward

in another          echoes re-echoing infinite corridors a single     instep     long

click                    instants ghost frozen

click                    instants passed over

click                    instants multiplied by time and one and nought         equalling

click     clickclick    click     ClickclickClick    click    click     clickclickclick    

                                                                                                      something clicks...


Throughout my career in television and documentaries the filming I’ve done in the arts environment has always been the most rewarding.  The subject matter is invariably interesting, and there’s scope for putting your own visual ‘take’ on the images produced.  It allows creative freedom in a way working from a finished script does not.

Teamwork contains a hierarchy, whereas collaboration allows a much freer bouncing of ideas off other people.  It’s been very stimulating to return to collaboration, having the support/questioning of people working on the same project but coming from different angles.  Adam, Leona and I have worked closely together during videoing, all of us pooling our experiences, ideas and expertises.  We’ve found the same wavelength, understanding this project is not a documentary about a cello being made, but a much more abstract examination of ideas around listening and seeing. 

From a practical perspective, during the making of the videos Leona and I have had to take into account the fact that Adam has been working on an intricate, ongoing, developing instrument, a process that allows no chance for ‘second goes’.  We could not allow ourselves to compromise his process, which meant a fine line had to be walked between controlling the workshop environment to get the ‘right’ shot and allowing him to totally immerse himself in the rhythm of his work.  This has meant shots have had to have been anticipated much more than set up - and certainly not staged.  It’s taken time to discover the least intrusive way to film.  Working in the moment, capturing images as they’ve unfolded, or the instant as it’s happened, has resulted in some misses, but also in a much larger number of positive outcomes that could not have been foreseen.  It’s been an intense, exciting and rewarding challenge.

Camera operators rarely have the chance to edit their own material – images are always handed to someone else for post-production.  So being involved in the entire process has been a mind-opening return for my editing skills.  As I write this, we’re still editing, but images have been selected, and three video sequences have started to form and flow.  It’s a time of growth and expansion, both for the cello, the project, and myself.

Filed under:
Saturday 02 November 2019, 13:00 to 15:00

£2/£1 Book

Arnolfini invites you to join Liz Clarke & Company for this anarchic workshop with your family; and Banish the ...