I’m still developing ideas for this work, so, just for now, this is the original project description (will change!!!)
“Colston’s Last Journey” is a 21st century 3D interactive audio-walk created by the Bristol-based soundartist Ralph Hoyte. The audio-walk takes you on the journey taken by Edward Colston’s statue in 2020 from its toppling at Broad Quay to his watery end at Pero’s Bridge. As you follow the trail with your mobile phone or tablet (and headphones), you will stumble across digitally recreated ‘audio ghost ships’. These ghost ships are moored along what used to be the much longer Broad Quay. The ships themselves are invisible – but you can hear them! The ships sing, moan, grumble, lament … and talk. They talk of who was transported in them as part of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, who crewed them, willingly or no, where they sailed to, who and what they off-loaded there, how much was paid, who and what they traded onward, what they brought back. Taken as a whole all the ships together form a tapestry of soundart.
The project is a contribution to city-wide conversations raised by the toppling of Colston’s statue in 2020. It is an aspirational work which talks to a new narrative of what ‘Bristol’ has been historically, is now, and could become. Through the medium of soundart, it opens up hidden histories of the Triangular Trade formerly covered in a collective act of forgetting. It – ambitiously – aims to bring people together to envisage a cosmopolitan future city.
Audiences will either access the work on site through their personal smart device and headphones, or remotely via pc or laptop anywhere in the world. As well as opening up hidden histories, this standalone work of soundart expands the sonic possibilities of ‘an intelligent environment’ in a forward-looking, digitally-connected city. Launch expected spring 2022.
The support of Arts Council England and the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership is gratefully acknowledged. Project partners are Prof. Steve Poole (Regional History Centre/University of the West of England) and Phill Phelps (Satsymph). Permission to use the Slave Trade Database (Prof. Philip Mesevich/St Johns University/New York) and input from Madge Dresser (Honorary Professor/Department of History/University of Bristol) is gratefully acknowledged.