Temple of a Thousand bellsEver wanted to peek inside that pocket Parthenon: the Oratory? You know, the handsome little chapel (actually a Grade 1 listed building) that guards the entrance to Liverpool Cathedral?

Well, now you can – thanks to it being chosen as the site for Laura Belem’s ‘Temple of a Thousand Bells’: a sensory installation consisting of said bells hung, seemingly suspended, in the light-filled air above the oratory’s sculptures of the civic great and good.

To save you the bother of counting them, there is indeed a thousand cast glass bells: but they’re silent. Their soundtrack is, instead, a polyphonic soundscape – snatches of surf and seagulls, and of sailors recalling an ancient legend about a temple of a thousand bells built on an island, now lost beneath the waves.

It’s a nuanced and delicate piece – and, like the mysterious bells themselves, won’t find a resonance with everyone: the sunken temple’s bells, so the legend goes, can only be heard by the chosen few.

As a trailblazer for this year’s Biennial: Touched, the piece does, however, send out a distinct and resonant pitch.

We don’t want to worry you by getting all Zen, like. But, this year, to really appreciate the emotional tug and pull of the Biennial, you’ll have to work a little harder.

Tell us, if you can, what is the sound of the silent bell?

Temple of a Thousand Bells
The Oratory
Liverpool Cathedral

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