Caitlin Magda Shepherd

"Art belongs not to the active life but to the contemplative life—not to the vita activa but to the vita contemplativa." Nicholas Wolterstorff

Month: August, 2014

Sanctuary at Green Man Festival


The Sanctuary cabin stood alone on a small hill, set between a cluster of large and towering trees, which also created an intense wind tunnel. Located in the Nature Nuture area, we overlooked the beautiful landscape and the South Walian hills.


By Friday afternoon all slots were fully booked, with groups and individuals signing up the intimate listening experience for four people at a time. There was also a waiting list.


Sanctuary seems to attract a varying audience. This time we had a poet, some families, a MET office scientist, a group of very stoned teenage boys, a sound engineer and many more. It bought tenderness, emotion and tears to the people that passed through, and ultimately was a moving experience for all.



A space that is still, a space for listening, and intimate space. Where you will listen to yourself and others. Part social documentary part pyschadelic journey into the unknown, come and see us at our last two tour dates; Smugglers Festival and Festival No 6.



T.S. Eliot Quartet No. 1: Burnt Norton

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

Lying in the Dark

To weep is to make less the depth of grief. – William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II, Act II


To come to terms with a young death is a strange thing. There is the sense that it never really happened. That they’ve have gone away on holiday. She has gone away on holiday. I still try to txt her. I think of her when my brain slows down, and I am scared but positively alive. It is an absurd joke, ripped out of a thrown away Christmas Cracker. Something that was never meant to be opened. More it is a motley of memories, of smells, of fleshy blood and bone recall. What is love. Well it is certainly something told of the body. Through the senses and bristling hair line truth of touch, trust and return. The older we get, the more we can feel that we have lived; but mortality has no preference, reason or even prejudice. A volatile game of change, a lesson in temporality. We are not here long. So live we better had. EAT LIFE she wrote in her dying days, in her last words she rejoiced and reclaimed, take what you can and leave the rest behind. For others, for memories, for the binding. How funny it is, that identity is made up of so many small and anachronistic fragments. Our stories are not plucked from a single soliloquy existing in linear time.

Christian Boltanski's ephemera

Sanctuary at Wilderness Festival

Welcome to Wilderness

Welcome to Wilderness

Wow! Straight from St Ives to Wilderness. We entered the beautiful site in a lovely old van, and got straight to work. The cabin was installed by midday Thursday, and by midday Friday, all slots had been fully booked. I ran x 4 shows a day, and the content seemed to create a relaxed, open energy in audience members, with people feeling moved and intrigued by the content of the stories told by the voices of others.


We would like to say a massive thank you to the organisers, production folk and the audience for creating such a creative and inquisitive event! We look forward to next year.


Sanctuary At National Quaker Gathering

The main tent at National Quaker Gathering 2014

The main tent at National Quaker Gathering 2014

On Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th August, the Sanctuary Installation was up and running for members of the national quaker gathering. The gathering ran for a week, and was comprised of a rich and diverse programme, covering social and economic justice, climate change, quaker meetings, history and for the first time ever a diverse art programme.

Voyaging into Stories of Sanctuary

Voyaging into Stories of Sanctuary

The Sanctuary installation, which takes audiences of four on an intimate sound journey for 4o minutes was fully booked on both days, and received positive feedback from audience members. The following day I went onto my interview for Artist in residence at Tate St Ives, and the next day the Sanctuary crew travelled straight to Wilderness Festival.

I managed to get access to the sound desk.

I managed to get access to the sound desk. With a strange man in the background too.


Sanctuary: Short listed for Tate St Ives Artist Residency Programme

Blindfolded and listening

Blindfolded and listening

My currently touring Sanctuary project, has been short listed for the Tate St Ives Artist Residency. The interview for the 4 month residency, takes place next Tuesday. I thought it would be interesting to outline the idea of the project here.

Building on the work of the Sanctuary summer tour currently funded by the Arts Council and Kew Gardens, the residency would enable the development of my current practice, a multi sensory, site specific sound experience; Sanctuary.

Focusing on researching and developing an immersive sound experience, I plan to document and communicate the stories of sanctuary gathered from the residents of St Ives. I am particularly interested in recording sound material that explores people’s experiences and emotional and geographical associations of ideas surrounding Sanctuary. Committed to exploring the role of listening within installation art and participatory documentary, I want to work with local people to further explore the themes of sanctuary within public psyche. Specifically I would use the act of listening and moving in unison, as a method of connecting the bodily and sensory with the intellectual / conceptual experience of sanctuary.

Listening to the unspoken

Listening to the unspoken

The Sanctuary experience itself, concentrates on developing a multi sensory sound documentary experience. In this instance, I plan to develop and install a multi sensory sound experience in a range of site-specific locations around St Ives. In my current sound installation work, I work with mobile headphones, where each person receives the same broadcast through individual headsets. During this residency I would like to explore linking movement of small audiences to triggering site-specific sound sensors. I am also very interested in linking the Tate St Ives gallery with local site specific locations within which to experience a time based walk about sound-scape ‘Sanctuary’ journey.