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Gen Doy



'After working for many years as a university lecturer in history and theory of visual culture, I qualified as a fine artist, graduating with an M.A.(distinction) from University of the Arts London in 2013. I also have an M.A. in History of Fine Art and French Language and Literature from Glasgow University, and a Ph.D. in History of Art from the University of Essex. My published books deal with issues of “race”, gender, sexuality and the politics of representation. I use various media in my work, particularly sound and live performance. I also work with still and moving images, written and spoken texts, in order to construct narratives that are not linear, but suggestive, evocative and open to creative interpretation by the viewer and listener. I am interested in myth, history and the many ways in which the historical can collide and interact with the contemporary.'



Orford Ness lighthouse and oil store are now destroyed. Efforts were made to stop the structures falling into the sea but eventually this failed and the buildings recently disappeared. My sound work was made from recordings in the lighthouse and the song was sung in the oil store. 

I made the recordings for 'Lighthouse Song' (sung from the point of view of the lighthouse itself) in 2016 when I wasa resident for a short period in Imogen Holst's house in Aldburgh, thanks to the Britten Pears Foundation. I made a suite of six Suffolk Songs about coastal erosion, changes made by time and weather, and related these things to changes in living things and ageing. The lighthouse was knocked down very recently to prevent it collapsing into the sea in a dangerous way. The oil store, which at one time, I was told, stored whale oil, was where I recorded the song. That too has disappeared due to coastal erosion.

Singing the song in the store made quite an impression on me as I could taste and smell the oil as I breathed deeply to sing. Now many lighthouses in the UK are redundant as computer and satellite navigation is used. The job of lighthouse keeper has almost disappeared, and apparently many automated lighthouses are supervised by one person working at a distance looking after several lighthouses. A close link with weather conditions has been replaced by images on a screen, jobs are lost, heritage and the built environment destroyed. The short cries/sounds heard in the piece are based on the "characteristics" (the frequency and length of the beams which identifies the individual lighthouses) of the lighthouse's beams, but also convey concern and a warning note.

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