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Listening Ground, Lost Acres

Graeme Miller

© the artist
1994 – 2024

Listening Ground, Lost Acres was a series of walks which mapped a landscape, a city and the people within it. It was specially created for the Salisbury Festival by Graeme Miller in collaboration with Mary Lemley.

If you run a straight line on the map between Stonehenge to the north of Salisbury and the Iron Age enclosure of Clearbury Ring to the south, it will thread up the centres of Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral – the ancient and modern hearts of the city. First noted in 1890 by the director of Ordinance Survey, this curious alignment has puzzled observers ever since.

Miller evoked the places and the lives touched by ‘the line’ in sound, speech and music. Wearing a tiny earpiece, walkers were led through the countryside, guided by distant voices embedded in a music inspired by this very particular cross section of Wiltshire. Parallel to this, visual artist Mary Lemley produced a unique guidebook for a series of walks which weaved in and out of ‘the line’ and led through town and country, hill and valley, to expected and unexpected places. The meandering paths were marked on the landscape by tall glass triangulation points created by glassmaker Jonathan Andersson.

The complete walk took approximately seven hours, however particular sections of it could be experienced on their own and were accessible for public transport, wheelchairs and buggies.

Funded by The Arts Council of England and Southern Arts. Commissioned by Salisbury Festival and Artangel

“If one of the functions of art is to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar, Listening Ground, Lost Acres is art of the highest degree.”

The Sunday Times
© the artist