The premiere of Crossing Over at Turner Contemporary. Photograph: Jason Pay.
Crossing Over



Additional Information

Crossing Over is a choral work for a project community choir, accompanied by audio recordings of voices, mobile telephones and ocean drums played through three speakers. Crossing Over can also be experienced as a surround sound installation. In each realisation, the work is to be experienced in darkness. Crossing Over was performed by a project community choir comprising refugees, asylum seekers and British-born people in Thanet, Kent, where attitudes towards refugees and asylum seekers continue to be a contentious issue. Crossing Over explores the concept of ‘home’ as a vehicle to unite contrasting views on the refugee crisis. It was inspired by interviews with refugees and asylum seekers, and features vocal techniques from their musical cultures.

Materials – (1) Live performance: SAATTBB live community choir accompanied by audio tracks triggered with Ableton at 6 points in the work through 3 speakers [centre, right and left]. Circa. 15 minutes. Audio tracks feature 302 voice recordings submitted by members of the public, sound effects, news footage audio samples on the topic of migration. Audio tracks were created and edited with: Mobile telephones, Logic Pro and RX5 Audio Editor. (2) Surround sound installation: 5.1 surround sound film, circa. 15 minutes. 5.1 speaker system and film projector located in a small-medium sized dark room.

Commissioned by: Turner Contemporary with the support of Canterbury Christ Church University. Commissioned to premiere as part of a day long event in commemoration of the Zong Massacre as depicted on J.M.W. Turner’s painting The Slave Ship (1840), and to complement John Akomfrah’s film installation Vertigo Sea, which explores migration and lives lost at sea. 

Team: Lead artist, composer & community choir leader: Emily Peasgood. Matthew Smyth: Audio editing & live sound. Film: Ethan Maltby. Photography: Larah Simpson & Jason Pay.

Awards: 2017 Ivor Novello Composer’s Award nominee (prev. British Composer Awards) for Community Music or Educational Project.