Mixtape for Julian of Norwich

When I was a young girl me and my bandmates would make mixtapes for each other. Song snippets of others and our own. Bits of the radio, bits of the TV. Maybe some birdsong or muffled recordings from sleepovers. We’d mimic the quotation practice on Manic Street Preachers CDs and apply it to our own pop cultural and coastal ephemera cosmology. Assembling our canon from Neighbours, Mr. Beard and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

 

Now I want to make a mixtape for Julian of Norwich. The anchorite whose sixteen visions of the crucifixion of Christ spirited away her unknown illness and swept her into lifelong literacy. Given name unknown, she dispensed of her physical agency, bricked herself into/onto a church in Norfolk and spent her days committing these ecstatic visions of blood, love and hazelnuts to words.

 

Here’s a monument to Julian and analogue piracy. A magnetic strip encoded with songs, words and soundscapes from, about, and devoted to isolation, God, gardening, sweat, revelation, loss of sensory perception, sickness, crabs and writing. For her to listen to in her anchorhold. For us to listen to peering up through the squint towards the carbon-swaddle of london’s sky-blanket.

 

Be a Gardener. Dig a ditch. Toil and sweat. And turn the earth upside down. And seek the deepness. And water plants in time. Continue this labour. And make sweet floods to run. and noble and abundant fruits to spring. Take this food and drink. and carry it to God as your true worship.

Commisioned by Goldsmiths CCA for Testament.

listen to the work here

Photography by Rob Harris courtesy of Goldsmiths CCA

Mixtape for Julian of Norwich

2022
Audio on cassette (edition of 16), cassette player, plasticene, carbon print on paper, paint, pen and stickers on trolley.

Duration 40 min

Production support and thank yous to Phoebe, Sarah, Oliver, the tunes and non-tunes group chat and all friends with songs to share