Concluding article for Wiltshire Arts blog March 2019
Link to A-N Montreal blog by Henny Burnett
Cicatrix: Call and Response
'Art and conflict have gone hand-in-hand for centuries. The power of visual imagery to communicate with such immediacy makes it the perfect cultural platform through which we remember and acknowledge the impact of confit. As such, images of violence, destruction, remembrance and commemoration dominate our historical and contemporary reality. Less frequent, however, are artworks considering the legacy of confit, and the ongoing scarring that shapes our existence.
Cicatrix: Call and Response is thus a truly significant and powerful exhibition, which brings together work by four artists, who are responding to the legacy of the Great War through the wounded landscape of Salisbury Plain...
... Down in the Cells, the usual eerie silence is filled by the bird song of Caro Williams’ Call and Response. This immersive sound installation, which inspired the title of the exhibition, links the landscape of Salisbury Plain to a vast area of historic land in New Zealand. Birdsong recorded in both landscapes is punctuated by a Morse code transmission of one of Isaac Rosenberg’s most popular war poems Returning, We Hear the Larks. Williams’ piece represents an important development in Cicatrix’s endeavour to look at the legacy of the Great War on an international level, and considers the collective history and scarring shared by distant lands.'
Text: Katie Ackrill, Curator Trowbridge Arts
Dr Alison Hems speech from Cicatrix opening at the Young Gallery
Review by Fiona Robinson RWA, artist, writer, curator
The catalogue for Cicatrix, complete with contributions from Professor Ewan Clayton MBE and the Senior Archaeologist for the MOD, Richard Osgood, is available on PDF or also in magazine format at
If you are interested in reading around the subject, this list has been compiled by the artists to encourage a deeper understanding of the themes this project has raised.
Prudence Maltby suggests;
1914 - 1918 The History of the First World War. by David Stevenson (Penguin)
Forgotten Voices of the Great War A new history of WW1 in the words of the men and women who were there. by Max Arthur (Ebury Press)
Last Post The final word from our First World War soldiers, featuring interviews with British veterans. by Max Arthur (Orion Audiobooks)
The Beauty and the Sorrow. An intimate history of the First World War. by Peter Englund (Profile Books)
The Great War. Myth and Memory. by Dan Todman (Bloomsbury)
The Better Angels of Our Nature. The decline of violence in history and its causes. by Steven Pinker (Penguin)
Trauma. From Lockerbie to 7/7:how trauma affects our minds and how we fight back. by Professor Gordon Turnbull (Corgi)
Susan Francis suggests;
Chemical and Biological Defence at Porton Down 1916-2000 : A history of Porton Down from the aquisition of the site during WW1 to it's role at the turn of a new millenium by G.B Carter (The Stationary Office)
In Defence of Landscape An archeology of Porton Down ; A detailed description of one Europe's richest sites for archeology, preserved through the protection given to it by the presense of the Porton Down by David Ride (Tempus Publishing Ltd)
Henny Burnett suggests;
A Journal of the 1/14th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment 1914-1918. A personal record of its service in The First World War by Sergeant Fred Mundy D.C.M.
Wiltshire and The Great War by T.S.Crawford