Lindsay Dobbin’s practice of deep listening and sustained engagement with the Bay of Fundy is reflected in Arrival, in which they build a spacious soundscape with two tones acting as wave cycles. This sound piece results from Dobbin’s performance, Drumming the Tide, which they describe as a “six-hour intertidal drumming pilgrimage.”
The performance took place in August 2014, when the tides were reaching their highest in a 28-year cycle. Beginning at the water’s edge, Dobbin struck their handmade drum each time the advancing tide met their body, and took a step forward toward the shore.
Dobbin explains, “from low to high tide, these very simple and humble gestures grounded me in the experience as I became aligned with the (im)pulse of the ocean, entering a deep state of awareness where the rhythm was slow, cyclical and powerful.”
At the end of the six-hour performance, I removed the white cape that I had been wearing, and watched it float off and away into the ocean.
A few days after returning to the Bay of Fundy a year later, I was exploring the intertidal zone, collecting mud to dye paper. As I dug, I came across a piece of fabric. As I removed the mud from it, I realized it was the cape I had worn for Drumming the Tide.
It spent a year in the ocean, and the sea gave it back to me.
Held by an immense basin of red earth, the tides of the Bay of Fundy are the highest in the world, ranging in differences between low and high tides of 3.5 to 16 metres. The speed at which these 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the basin is so perceptible that in certain inlets I’ve had to drastically quicken my steps to outpace the water’s advance.
I was a witness to Dobbin’s performance, during which as the tide approached a narrowing landscape, it overtook them despite Dobbin maintaining a constant pace. By the end of the performance, Dobbin was carried to shore, submerged to their neck.
With Arrival, Dobbin aims to translate this experience to sound. They ask only that we listen, and through a sustained resonance, we can for a moment experience the pacing, immersion, and ritual of their experience with this place.
Katie Belcher, Director/Curator
Access Gallery Vancouver
Making Niagara Culturally Distinct
A not-for-profit, charitably registered, member-driven collective formed by and dedicated to the working artists and community of Niagara.