Artwork: Re-enchanted, 2023
by Katy Beinart
The village of Exceat once stood at the top of a nearby hill, at the foot of which runs the river Cuckmere. All that remains of Exceat on the site of the hill is a marker stone for the site of the church. In 1913, excavations revealed the footings of the church, thought to have been built in the 11th century. It is thought that the village was abandoned in the aftermath of the black death in the mid-late 1400s. Taking this now invisible history as a starting point, the installation Re-enchanted uses the plan of the church revealed through archeological surveys as an outline gradually filled in with found objects collected around Sussex shorelines and painted with chalk.
On the evening of 24th September, The Brighton Early Music Festival Community choir sang three pieces of plainchant from the Lewes Breviary. This music is contemporary with when Exceat was inhabited and the church in use. The audience were led up to the church site where the choir sang, following which the audience reconvened at the installation site in the Pump Barn for a reading by Alinah Azedah and a repeat of the songs. The work asks us to reconnect to multiple pasts, think about a different sense of time, and consider how future generations might encounter traces of our current existence.
Re-enchanted was commissioned for Walk the Chalk Festival, 20th-24th September 2023, in the Pump Barn at Seven Sisters Country Park Visitor Centre, East Sussex.