Sanctum – By Theaster Gates


“I’m engaged in an open dialogue concerning the challenges of people’s right to the city – our total right to live fully, given thoughtfully and have our desires fulfilled as much as our needs met”

Thaester Gates

This was a public art project that was situated in the ruins of the Temple Church in Bristol.  Over 24 days (552 hours) sound was continuously played within the structure within the old church. Performers from around the world gathered to fill the man built structure with the sound of their craft. Artists, bands, DJs, poets, speakers…..each taking over from the next and with no public schedule you never knew what you would be hearing when entering for your 30 minute slot.


Doning my red dot sticker that symbolised my time, I entered through the old cold stone arch of the churches doors to be met by a curvey red brick road and a structure that looked to me like it had been drafted directly from a fairytale book. Within the walls of the ruined cathedral that was lit up in the dark night by elegantly placed floods, this wooden mishmash of reclaimed wood and windows warmly welcomed me to come forward. The sounds of a good old fashioned party was booming from its uneven walls. Inside it glowed a golden red from the warm lights and exposed wooden interior.  Oddly placed windows and doors filled the back wall in imitation of a large church window that may have once filled the alter wall of the ruined cathedral. The people inside were a buzz with chatter over the loud music, one or two were dancing “like no one was watching” as the saying goes. It was a room full of enjoyment and there was a feeling of togetherness.

I do wonder what will become of the old church after this ends….will it become a place for the people or again be locked up and removed from the community…just another boarded up space.


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