Célia Hay

Does Spring Hide Its Joy (2022)
Duration 10 minutes, Super 8 color 4/3, original soundtrack by Kali Malone featuring Stephen O’Malley and Lucy Railton

    Does Spring Hide Its Joy is an immersive audio experience by American composer Kali Malone featuring musicians Stephen O'Malley and Lucy Railton. Manifesting as a 4-day multichannel sound installation, Malone offers a deep listening environment in a hydraulic tower and engine house in Birkenhead Docks. Does Spring Hide Its Joy was created and recorded in the empty Berlin Funkhaus & Monom during the lockdown of spring 2020. The music is a study in long-form, non-linear durational composition, with a heightened focus on septimal just intonation and beating interference patterns.

    Originally designed by engineer Jesse Hartley in 1868, the Central Hydraulic Tower and Engine House is based on the Palazzo Vecchio, a renaissance cavern in Florence, Italy. Bombed during World War II, the iconic nineteenth-century Grade II listed building has been left unused for decades. In this empty chamber of industrial energy, Malone's durational composition breathes and bellows through porous brick walls, reverberating toward the surface of dockland waters.

    I directed a film accompanying the piece; filming the ruins of the hydraulic tower and engine house in Birkenhead Docks in a trembling portrait of this industrial place where nature has quietly reclaimed its rights. I tried to introduce a human presence in this desolate space through the camera's feverish movements and wandering, endeavouring not to just film the building as a monumental empty skeleton but to film together with the building and its collapsed roof, its holes, the moss and debris scattered on the floor, bits of burnt wood, but also all the living creatures who made this ruin their kingdom.

    This film was commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices and funded by Arts Council England. Assistant director: Sweatmother. 

Excerpt from Does Spring Hide Its Joy