To Paradise

Banks Artwork

A multi-channel sound work for Joseph Banks: A Great Endeavour, an exhibition about the passionate botanist and explorer who joined James Cook aboard the Endeavour to explore unchartered lands. The Collection, Lincoln.

The 25 minute piece begins with field recordings made in Bardney Lime Woods in Banks’ home county of Lincolnshire. Rooks, blue tits, warblers and the wind in the trees set the scene for this sonic voyage which charts Banks’ expedition to Tahiti in the first leg of Cook’s first great voyage in 1768.

Banks’ first entry in his journal marks the start of the voyage. Departing smoothly from the busy port of Plymouth, the Endeavour sails to Madeira, Rio de Janeiro on to stormy Cape Horn and then across the Pacific to the crashing waves of Matahavi Bay in Tahiti. Here, the gentle soundscape of rural Lincolnshire gives way to the excited lorikeets, Polynesian starlings and cicadas of tropical Tahiti. The sounds of singing, drumming and nose flutes represent the indigenous peoples he encountered and respected.

The piece concludes with the ebb and flow of Tahiti’s surf and William Cowper’s poem The Task, which imagines Banks as an adventurous bee, busily foraging for pollen.

To Paradise can be heard on the Soundwall at:
10.30am and 2.30pm Monday – Friday
10.30am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday
February 14th – May 11th 2014

Voice of Joseph Banks – Dr Finn Pollard
Voice of William Cowper – Mark Forster
Thanks to Daz Disley for technical support.

Composed specifically for the Collection’s unique Soundwall – a 22 loudspeaker, 33 metre sound system. This online version is stereo only.

Parts of this soundscape feature in Philip Stevens’ short film David Attenborough: Sir Joseph Banks – Endeavour.