Halfway to Heaven



Additional Information

Halfway to Heaven is an interactive sound installation in The Baptist burial ground on Bradstone Road, Folkestone. The Baptist burial started in the 1750s, in the garden of a miller. Until 1855, Baptists were buried there, as their ‘radical’ beliefs resulted in discrimination that prevented burial in Anglican ground. Following law reform in the 1850s, the burial ground was no longer required. When the railway arrived in the late 1800s, the slopes of the Pent Valley were cut away to be developed as terraced housing and the burial ground was left stranded as an ‘island’, floating 55 feet in the air. Since, as Folkestone has evolved and time has passed, the burial ground has become overgrown and forgotten by the town. Emily Peasgood’s interactive sound installation Halfway to Heaven explores this curious situation, with the deceased in their graves, elevated high above our heads, in a forgotten graveyard. Each audio channel is linked to a specific gravestone and contain musical narratives and references to the history of the burial ground and the people buried there, as an act of remembrance. Halfway to Heaven is ‘created’ by visitors working together to activate it, bringing the burial ground into existence once again.

Materials: For SSATB multichannel, synchronised and interactive sound installation, coded with C and created with: custom-built computer, ultrasonic sensors, and marine speakers in custom-made memorial urn housing.

Commissioned by: The Creative Foundation for Folkestone Triennial 2017, curated by Lewis Biggs.

Team: Lead artist & composer: Emily Peasgood. Lyrics by Emily Peasgood, Daniel Wright-Hadley, Eleanor Rudd & Kate Harwood. Producer: Emma Wilcox. Memorial urn fabrication: Darius Smith. Sound installation and synchronisation: Rhys Beetham of AP Interactive. Recording engineer: Ian Button. Sound editing: Matthew Smyth. Singers: Emily Peasgood, Catherine Futcher, Juliet Schiemann, Rhonda Merrick, Peter Futcher and Michael Burke. Film: Clare Unsworth and Daniel Battersby of Foxbite Media. Photography: Thierry Bal. Researched with the assistance of Robert Hughes (living relative of the interred).

Awards: 2018 Ivor Novello Composers Award Winner for Sonic Art (prev. British Composer Awards).

Photo by Thierry Bal.




United Kingdom