Sing the Gloaming – Simon Kirby | Tommy Perman | Rob St John

Phonaesthemes are words with paired form and meaning. In the English language, there are many phonaesthemes beginning ‘gl-‘ which relate to light, for example: glimmer, glitter, glow, gleam and gloam.

In ‘Sing the Gloaming’, a collection of sung vocalisations of these ‘light words’ will be recorded onto cassette tape loops. A set of tape decks will be housed in glowing sculptural objects installed across a small area of the Galloway Dark Sky Park. Their spatial arrangement will subtly map the linguistic evolution of light words from the Proto-Indo-European ‘*ghlei-‘.

The loops will repeat through the night, slipping in and out of resonance and rhythm until the tape deck batteries are drained, somewhere around dawn.

Simon Kirby is Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh, and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Simon’s academic research is concerned with the origin and evolution of language, and the unique ways that culture and biology interact in our species. Simon has collaborated on a range of widely exhibited artworks including Etiquette (2007), Three Pieces (2008), Cybraphon (2009), End of Forgetting (2011), #UNRAVEL (2012), Tasting Notes (2013), Great Circle (2014) and Concrete Antenna (2015). Cybraphon won a Scottish BAFTA in 2009 and is now part of the permanent collection of National Museums Scotland. With FOUND, he won the List Award for “outstanding contribution to Scottish Arts”. Simon was included in the Sync List of people “doing remarkable things in the space where technology meets arts”.

Tommy Perman is an artist, designer and musician who works in a variety of media including visual art, performance, sound and music. He has a particular interest in combining new digital technologies with traditional techniques and materials. His work has been shown at a number of major art institutions including the Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh and the CCA, Glasgow and in major art festivals such as the Glasgow International, Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Art Festival. One of his artworks, Cybraphon, is held in the national collection at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh and he has won numerous awards including a Scottish BAFTA.

Rob St John is an artist, writer and academic. His interdisciplinary work often involves landscape writing, art-science collaboration, sound recording and film-making, and has been shown at Tate Modern, London, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and Stour Space, London, alongside numerous publications and releases.