Skip to content

Paul Rooney returns to Lindisfarne Castle with Song (After Nature)

Artist Paul Rooney at Lindisfarne Castle for "Song; After Nature"
Paul Rooney at Lindisfarne Castle | © National Trust/Laura Knowles

Experience Lindisfarne Castle in a completely different way to anything you may have seen (or heard) before.

We're exhibiting Paul Rooney's immersive sound piece 'Song (After Nature)' in the castle's Upper Gallery, along with nature images from the castle's collection and pieces of nature writing, some by local writers.

A contemporary soundscape installation, it is inspired by the island’s distinctive sounds and can be heard through parts of the imposing 16th-century castle. The calls of the island’s resident grey seals, along with the cries of gulls, waves crashing on the shore and wind blowing across the open expanses have been‘translated’ into a haunting cello composition. Paul’s work acknowledges the renowned cellist and frequent guest at the castle, Guillermina Suggia; With the howls of the islands’ resident seals acting as a siren song, warning of the looming climate catastrophe and a future where nature only exists as a ghost.

Text is projected among the objects, 'translating' the seal song as a playful yet grave warning of the climate catastrophe.

Some furnishings from the castle's collection have been brought back to weave a story between the installation and the castle's past inhabitants.

Hudson and his guests were drawn here as a place of escape, seeking sanctuary and an opportunity to reconnect with nature. The experience in the castle recreates that feeling, but with a dark undercurrent of over-indulgence and unsustainability, a metaphor for our relationship with the natural world.

Normal admission charges apply.

'The words of a siren song (the Homeric sirens sang irresistible songs from a bone scattered meadow, that resulted in death for any sailors who heard them), is a ‘translation’ of the seal’s calls. The song tries to lure the reader in, like an advert, offering knowledge (the deadly price for this leaks out at the end). The song’s knowledge is a warning of the future of the climate catastrophe, where nature is merely a remembered presence, a ghost.'

– Paul Rooney.