Soil Voices

LADA is thrilled to present this 24-hour performance by Miranda Whall as part the programme Live Art in Rural UK.

Between Saturday 12 August at 15:00 and Sunday 13 August until 15:00, artist and Aberystwyth University lecturer, Miranda will be performing and live streaming from a pre-prepared self-dug 2ft ditch on the plateau; managed by Pwllpeiran Upland Research Centre, known as the Ffridd (the upland fringe), Cambrian Mountains, at 600m approx.

On the hour, every hour, over 24 hours, Miranda will attempt to vocalise a live and continuous numerical data stream emitted from a newly installed sensor network via a custom built ‘talkie box’. The data stream will communicate the fluctuating soil moisture and soil temperature readings every fifteen minutes over a 24-hour period.

The performance will be live streamed continuously over 24 hours.

Local and global audiences are invited to drop in an out of the 24 hour live stream, in the hope that by being virtually up close and in the mountain with the soil and Miranda for a few seconds or hours might generate a greater awareness and new perspectives – not only of the nuanced and fluctuating soil conditions, but of human and non-human entanglement, human and non-human interconnectedness, from a socio-cultural and eco-political perspective.

The earth doesn’t speak, so the ground-breaking sensor technology that Miranda uses enables scientists, land managers, investors, and stakeholders to listen to what the earth is telling them and how it needs to be managed and protected to sustain human, animal, vegetal, fungal and bacterial livelihoods as we move into more extreme and unpredictable weather conditions. Miranda’s translation of the high – resolution soil sensor data beyond traditional statistics, aims to offer a wider meaning and greater impact to soil science by offering new perspectives on the scientific research, in Soil Voices, Miranda is literally embedding her body into the landscape in order to embody and give a voice to the soil. Community and stakeholder engagement with scientific data is essential if future decisions on upland land management are to reach a consensus and be successful in helping to provide the local human and non – human communities with what they want and need. This project is about facilitating wider audiences and non-scientists to become part of the conversation about land management and climate change.

Miranda wishes to thank Prof Andrew Thomas, Prof Fred Labrosse, Pete Todd and Prof Mariecia for enabling this creative response.

About Soil Voices

Soil Voices is an iteration of When Earth Speaks, Miranda Whall’s series of durational and relational drawing performances made during 2023- 2024. Soil Voices was initially funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) as part of the X Disciplinary Hopping Research Project Making the Invisible Visible: Instrumenting and Interpreting an Upland Landscape for Climate Change Resilience. The Aberystwyth University academic team were Prof Andrew Thomas, Prof Fred Labrosse, Dr Pete Todd, and Prof Mariecia Fraser.

Miranda Whall developed her side of the wider project as part of LADA’s programme Live Art in Rural UK.

Miranda Whall laying in a 2 foot self-dug ditch at night time, with two lights above her illuminating the hole Photo by Ashley Calvert

About Miranda Whall

Miranda Whall studied her undergraduate in fine art at UWIC, Cardiff and the Emily Carr School, Vancouver, Canada, her postgraduate in sculpture at The Royal Academy Schools, London, and was an associate student at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She has exhibited internationally since 1997 and was recipient of an Arts Council Wales Major Creative Wales Award in 2012 and an Arts Council Wales Large Production Grant in 2017/18. Recent solo shows include Crossed Paths – Sheep at Oriel Davies Newtown, Wales in 2018, and Passage at the Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Art, Bath in 2015.

Miranda has undergone 18 international residencies, has been the recipient of numerous Arts Council England grants and has curated and organised a multitude of artists and student exhibitions. She has commissioned artists, musicians, writers, poets, actors, photographers, filmmakers and dancers to collaborate in her projects. Miranda is currently working on a NERC Discipline Hopping funded project with a sci-art team and the Pwllpeiran Upland Research Centre, Aberystwyth University, and a public tree crawl for the ArtBomb Festival in Doncaster in August 2022.

About Live Art in Rural UK

Live Art in Rural UK is a yearlong programme conceived by LADA’s former Director, Vivian Chinasa Ezugha. It focuses on amplifying the embodied practices of artists living and working in rural locations across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Miranda Whall digging in a long grassed field

Banner image credit:

Miranda Whall

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