Earthquake Mass Re-imagined

In today’s uncertain times of climate crisis and frequent extreme weather events, Kathy Hinde uses Antoine Brumel’s 16th Century Mass, Missa Et ecce terrae motus, as source material to create a new audiovisual installation aiming to bring much needed attention to the fragile state of our planet. The earth on which we stand is not as stable as we once imagined. The final movement of Brumel’s mass, Agnus Dei was discovered partly rotting away, leaving an unfinished score, the music eaten away by organic processes as if it were returning to the earth.

Following conversations with Mexico’s top seismologists, the installation is a response to scientific research, seismic data, and what it means to live in a country with the constant risk of earthquakes occurring at any time.

The installation is centred around 12 vinyl records of individual voices from a Mexican choir singing this final movement. The vibrations of the human voice are engraved into a surface presenting the beginnings of a crack or a fissure, creating a metaphor for the constant movements of the earth, as tectonic plates shift on geological timescales. Further transformations of the voices are explored through processes of fragmentation and resonance, to create shimmering echoes of partially shattered voices, that mask and obscure the pure vocal recordings playing on vinyl.

Beautiful, yet unsettling, this dispersed, ultra-spatialised soundscape presents glimpses of Brumel’s Earthquake Mass amongst a textural soundscape of vocal echoes and remnants. It is a poetic contemplation on the state of the planet.