orford ness

8-30 july 2012


Listen. Listen now. Listen again to the sounds of this slow-flowing shingle river. Listen to the voices of this untrue island. Listen to the Ness: it speaks gull, it speaks wave, it speaks rust, it speaks lichen. Hear the Ness: it speaks bullet, it speaks ruin, it speaks redshank, it speaks deception, it speaks pagoda, it speaks transmission, it speaks reception, it speaks pure mercury, it speaks fluent flint, it speaks utmost secret, it speaks swift current, it speaks broken signal, it speaks shifting shingle, it speaks precarious wisdom, it speaks rapid-fire.


Robert Macfarlane

Untrue Island 2012


UNTRUE ISLAND is a series of new commissions for Orford Ness initiated and developed by Commissions East and the National Trust.


A combination of sculpture, musical composition, narration and the real-time sounds of Orford Ness capture the spirit of this constantly changing, evocative and remote location.


The project brings Orford Ness' unique experience to existing and new audiences, communicating the complex landscape and ecology, and the historical significance of the site in a contemporary context.


The project is part of the National Trust's 'Trust New Art' programme.

ORFORD NESS is an internationally important nature reserve, which contains a significant portion of the European reserve of vegetated shingle habitat.


The site has a fascinating military history and was used for top secret development of a vast range of armaments, including radar and nuclear weapons.


Orford Ness National Nature Reserve is now managed by the National Trust and is open to the public, though access is strictly controlled to protect the fragile habitats and due to a residual danger from unexploded bombs and other debris.