The Space in Between (Part 2)


I returned to my Belfast home, with Pietrafitta occupying the collected recordings of rural sounds, interjected with the rhythmic tolling of the bell tower to mark its day.

Within this soundtrack was an incidental recording that happened as I climbed a steep hill to avoid the territorial farm dogs around La Mola. In the thinner mountain air I became aware of the awkward vulnerability of hearing my own breathing. I quickly stopped the recording device in embarrassment but on later reviewing the sounds, realised that this raw human breath had an honesty and broken beauty that needed to be included in my responsive work

Another key moment that enriched my process was captured in an image of the Mayor of Settefrati, whose hand lovingly connected with the old tree’s surface as he told the story of its breakage and regeneration.

This simple action triggered an awareness in me of how touch has a capacity to create belonging and connection. I recognized that this could add an important element within my evolving art practice.


I began work with sound artist, Craig Jackson, from the Sonic Arts Research Centre In Queen’s University to create a soundscape for a multisensory sculpture that would allow members of the public to inhabit my exploration of what it is to be human

East Belfast offered up its own chorus, through patterns of pulsing traffic, the clank and chink of shop song, ambulances and street corner ball games. Both places held the busyness of life continuing

In “Being Human,” elongated bells create a dark bed of sound that vibrates in one’s stomach on touching the sculptural installation and is counterbalanced by lighter, hope-inspiring birdsong. Vibrant conversations bounce between the two locations, while a meditative quality combines the artist’s and the audiences’ breath as they stand in the ‘space in between’ where life happens.


This sentiment is echoed in two cement sculptures that suggest a place of possibilities between the start and end of things.

‘And then the gold…’ celebrates the richness and beauty that frequently rises out of  difficult experiences

‘A growing thing’ reminds us that life often finds its way through…


By Heather Dornan Wilson