Imber is a village on Salisbury plain, requisitioned by the Army during WW2 for street-fighting exercises and never handed back to the displaced inhabitants. After much negotiation and some mine-sweeping, the Army recently gave Artangel permission for a one-night performance there, with music by Giya Kancheli. There’s lots of detail on the Artangel site, including an interview with Kancheli. I’ve no idea how I managed to miss this. There’s a review on the Independent site, which makes a point about context:

The fact is, we weren’t focusing on the real tragedy – unmentioned in the advance publicity – which lies three thousand miles away. Though they don’t hail from it, Rustavi [Georgia’s famous choir] take their name from a now-derelict Georgian industrial city, which is one of the most desolate places I’ve seen. Thousands of people live there, but hardly any have jobs. And the monastery of David Garreja [“whose ancient frescos had not prevented the Soviet army from using it for target practice”] – just south of Rustavi – is still sublime. But it would take more than a fleet of buses to ferry an audience out there.

Incidentally, according to Frieze magazine, Kancheli is now based in Antwerp, because of his fondness for the cakes there.


  1. oh yes, that seems like something that shouldn’t have been missed.
    given your other recent activities you could probably synthesthesiasize something starting with a drive to Georgia from Antwerp in a wood car …

  2. and on this stream of consciousness, was just flipping through things at Strand Books and came across Robert Polidori’s “Zones of Exclusion – Pripyat and Chernobyl” … voluptuous shots of plant workers like bakers in front of Lem-ish dials and guages. Makes me want to go out and get some Dirty Bomb Pills.

  3. I’ve seen some of those photos recently — lovely. What’s the Viridian phrase? Accidental Nature Reserves or something similar…very Stalker.

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