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Living Voices: bringing the landscape to life


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Slides (some images removed) from presentation by Jackie Calderwood in the Layered Reality Project Feedback Panel at i-Docs Symposium 2012, Watershed, Bristol.


Living Voices is a locative woodland walk with audio. Trees act as placeholders for the voices of eight people living with varying stages and forms of dementia.

Audio was recorded via interviews using a methodology informed by David Grove’s Clean Language to facilitate participants sharing of information about themselves. Each person considers what kind of tree they might be. Developing the metaphor elicits qualities and aspirations of life well lived. Participants are invited to share whatever message they feel important to be heard. Some also choose to speak about the nature of their disease, the impact on their life.

This paper will outline the concept, methodology and practice of collaboration, the making of the first iteration of the interactive documentary pervasive artwork, Living Voices.

The project draws together my interests in participatory community arts, holistic therapies, pervasive media and rural landscape. During previous documentary work for the Alzheimer’s Society in Wiltshire, creating a Service Advocacy DVD, I was struck by the comment of one gentleman who, when asked what else he would like to add, replied: ‘it’s not very often we get asked if we have anything else to say.’

Using pervasive media and the growing environment, Living Voices attempts to bridge the three domains of experience: conceptual, sensory, symbolic (Lakoff & Johnson). Also to maintain integrity between the trialogue of interviewer/ interviewee/ information (Lawley & Tompkins) and subsequent user/ environment/ media content.
The intention is to share, if temporarily, ‘the wisdom of walking in another person’s moccasins’ as audience-listeners explore the landscape of trees and of the voices that speak to them, in response to their own pace of movement in time and space.

The project, instigated by Jackie Calderwood, is collaboration with Alzheimer’s Society Wiltshire and Clean Change Company. Future plans include a gallery installation and educational website.

Published in: Design, Technology
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Living Voices: bringing the landscape to life

  1. 1. Metaphor - ‘Amphora’ - Container