Caterham Memory Tree (2015)
The Caterham Memory Tree was created over the duration of a year by sound artist Julie Groves, and was exhibited as part of the Caterham Festival 2015.
Many local people generously shared their memories of the local area in small interviews with Julie, this material becoming the focal part of the installation.
The tree which was exhibited was built from scratch by Julie in her studio space in Reigate. Visitors were free to wander under the branches to listen in, or ‘eavesdrop’ over 300 tracks during the course of the hour+ created soundscape. People were encouraged to dip in and out, hearing snippets of local voices, stories and histories.
The local oral history sound archive part of the installation preserves local memories that would otherwise fade over time. Unlike ‘official’ history, these memories are not documented on paper and the Memory Tree offers a place for these oral histories to be preserved and shared in an interesting, dynamic way as sound art.
The Memory Tree was housed for 10 days in the ancient, meditative and historical space of St Lawrence’s Church (1095AD) located at the cusp of the Hill and the Valley with over 600 people of all ages visiting and participating. The final archive after the exhibition will carry on its work into the future, with the sound archive being housed at the East Surrey Museum, The Bourne Society and the British Library – imagine being able to hear the voices of Caterham from 100 years ago…
In order to create this piece Julie was helped by a number of groups of people and organisations who funded and enabled the purchase of materials. Many, many thanks to these groups for their support! They are:
Caterham on the Hill Parish Council Tandridge Community Fund Caterham, Oxted and Godstone Lions International
Individuals who have been incredibly supportive, with whom the Caterham Memory Tree sound installation would not have come to fruition and who have offered help at various points of the process are:
Andy Parr, Adam Green, Fr. Duncan Swan, Samuel Rodgers, Jeremy Webster (also for providing extra material!), Geoff Duck, Helen Hammer, Jill Caudle, Roger Easter, Mary Singh, Gareth Harmer, Jon Bagge, Margaret Rowe, Patricia Groves.
Memory Contributions from: Rachael Kay, Emma Wood, Sarah Benham, Elizabeth Leake, Nicola Archer, Merlin Skinner, Norman Skinner, Mick Burnell, Anne Muggeridge, The Caterham Baptist Church’s ‘Senior Moments’ group, Daphne Nolan, Ben Dare, June Smith, Zilpha Coombs and Frank Holloway, Mr and Mrs Cockerill, Roger Lamont, Mrs M. Lamont, Mrs A. Jupp, Olive Cooper, Alistair Jackson-Robbins, Allan Lewis, Douglas Martin, residents at Hillcroft Court and a number of anonymous participants. Post-installation contributions are still being collected.
Labelled photography by JonBagge.net, otherwise all photography by Julie Groves