Ludwig Forum, Aachen, 2011.
Seven multi-channel sound
installations. 43 minutes.

Seven Tears

The exhibition Seven Tears at the Ludwig Forum in Aachen was an installation of seven related sound works that played over and alongside one another in the main gallery space. Six of the works were previously installed in London as Surround Me and a seventh To the Greenwood was made specially for the Ludwig Forum. The title of the exhibition refers directly to John Dowlands famous Lachrimae or Seaven Teares (1604), seven adaptations of his signature instrumental based upon the image of a single falling tear and the exhibition took inspiration from Aachen’s natural thermal springs. Aachen is a city renowned for its hot natural springs. Its name actually means ‘waters of Grannus’, derived from the Latin word for water ‘Aquae’ and the Celtic deity ‘Grannus’. The Roman author Lucanus described the local scene. “Water flowed out of dark springs, and there stood plainly and without any decorative elements carved wooden idols, spooky and half rotten…” As part of the exhibition there will be a guided tour of the sites of the most famous springs that were in use in the 16th and 17th century. Most of these springs have been covered over but there are traces remaining that link this historic moment with the contemporary city. In Aachen the exhibition comes to embrace the vocal traditions of the early modern city, connecting themes of love and loss with those of circulation, immersion and fluidity. The layering and sequencing of the works combined with the movement of the audience through the space creates a fluid environment where sound and space come together to convey a poignant sense of absence and loss in the present.