Sounds from Beneath – video

View Sounds from Beneath the video.


Sounds from Beneath (2011-2012) centers around a sound work for which the artist Mikhail Karikis asked a community of a former coal miners’ choir to recall and vocalise the industrial sounds of a working coal mine, which they used to hear when they worked in the pits. Karikis located the former Kentish coalmine where the men used to work, and upon completing the sound work he invited the artist Uriel Orlow to collaborate on a video which depicts the desolate colliery brought back to life through the miners’ song. The sunken mine transforms into an amphitheater resonating sounds of former underground explosions, mechanical clangs cutting the coal-face, wailing alarms and shovels scratching the earth, all sung by Snowdown Colliery Male Voice Choir grouping in formations reminiscent of picket lines.

Commenting on Sounds from Beneath, the curator and writer Katerina Gregos highlights that “at once political and poetic, the film cuts through any expected conventional documentary realism and resonates with pathos dignity and emotional force. It functions as a salvaging of memory, an ode, a tribute, and a requiem all at once […] It captures the essence of the act of coal mining, while recalling the picket lines and intimating a strong sense of male identity and the solidarity of sharing a common purpose in work and song.”