An immersive sound installation on the site of a post-medieval burial ground with an extraordinary history.
Where: Crossbones Garden, Redcross way (entrance on Union Street), SE1 1SD
When: 12 – 7pm, Wednesday – Sunday from 8 June – 1 July
Requiem for Crossbones, on the site of an unconsecrated post-medieval burial ground, is an evocative site-specific sound installation created and composed by British artist Emily Peasgood specially for MERGE Bankside. The piece senses movement and responds to its audience, triggering a soundscape which acts as in interpretation of the lives once lived and laid to rest at the site.
Bankside was once a notoriously lawless part of London, a rowdy pleasure quarter outside of the city walls and its jurisdictions. Home to theatres, brothels and gambling dens, it was a place where the outcast resided. Established as early as the 17th century, Crossbones is believed to be the final resting place for prostitutes, known as ‘Winchester Geese’, paupers, criminals and children - those who could not afford burial or were deemed unfit for burial in consecrated ground. In excavation work carried out in 1992, a majority of bodies exhumed were children. As such, Peasgood places emphasis on the children and babies laid to rest at Crossbones.
It comprises five melodies, each creating individual narratives that tell the story of Crossbones and come together to form a whole soundscape. Peasgood has also drawn plots to acknowledge those lost, and a memorial board will encourage visitors to leave messages for the lost or living.
Requiem for Crossbones is an act of remembrance; a communal reflection on history, inequality, and acceptance. It encourages participation and reconnects people to spaces around them.
Requiem for Crossbones is being produced in partnership with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) who have created a community garden at Crossbones in collaboration with the Friends of Crossbones.
About the artist
Emily Peasgood is an award-winning composer, sound artist and visual artist. She creates research-led, multi-disciplinary work for galleries and public spaces, ranging from large-scale community events to intimate sound installations. Her work explores current affairs, community, and connecting people with overlooked or forgotten places. Her work is described as magical (The Times), evocative (The Telegraph), and memorable (A-N). Recent works include: Halfway to Heaven (Folkestone Triennial 2017), LIFTED (Turner Contemporary & South Bank Centre, 2016), and BASCA nominated works Crossing Over (2016) and BIRDS and other Stories (2017). Video of Halfway to Heaven, commissioned for Folkestone Triennial 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPvFuBeaDoA
About Crossbones Graveyard
This is the site of a post medieval burial ground estimated to hold the mortal remains of 15,000 women, children and men who lived, worked and died in what was once an impoverished and notoriously lawless part of London. The history of the place is not confined to some distant past; it’s an ongoing work in progress. Since 1996, Friends of Crossbones has worked to protect the site and to raise awareness of its historical, cultural and spiritual significance. In 2014 Transport for London granted a lease to Bankside Open Spaces Trust to create a community garden. Since then, Friends of Crossbones has collaborated with Bankside Open Spaces Trust to create a public Garden of Remembrance.