An audience stand is silhouetted against a late afternoon sky. It is placed on a beach area, and there are around twenty people spread along the different levels of the stand in a variety of poses. Several loudspeakers on stands are visible. The location is Bolderaja, in Riga, Latvia.
Witness Stand | Aivars Ivbulis / Homo Novus Festival 2021
Past Event

Witness Stand - Brighton West Pier

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey (Australia / UK)
Sat 7 - Sun 29 May 2022
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How do we understand where we are through listening?

From across the city, drifting over land, sea and forgotten sites, comes an invitation to gather, sit and listen together. 

Australian artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey have commissioned a community of writers and sound artists with a connection to Brighton to design sound works that respond to five specific sites that reverberate with ancient, recent, and future stories of the city. 

Each chosen site is a place where we can experience the confluence of past and future, the ebb and flow of time and tide. Places that hover around dereliction and renewal, separation and coming together. The Adur Estuary at Shoreham-by-Sea, the Chattri, the West Pier, East Brighton, and Brighton Marina will all be linked in a physical and aural network. We will gather together with the artists, on simple seating stands, to contemplate vistas that we rarely pause properly to see, to spend time together in a place where the site is both companion and performer. 

This unique perspective merged with an immersive soundscape, live performance and each area’s natural ambience, gives us the opportunity to look outwards and consider what it means to be here now, what it meant in the past, and what it might mean in the future. A chance to witness, together, exactly what it is that makes these places so unique.


Concept and direction: Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey

Lead writer: Akila M Richards

Artists: Razia Aziz, Johanna Bramli, Thor McIntyre Burnie, Ed Chivers, Scott Smith, Emma-Kate Matthews, Gene Pool, Quinta, Ingrid Plum, James C Wilkie, Mrisi

Writers: Georgina Aboud, Jenny Arach, Sheila Auguste, Dulani Kulasinghe, Zaid S Sethi

Cultural Consultants: Dave Searby Mason, Richard Bickers, Davinder Dhillon, Richard Williams, Katie Sollohub, Rachel Clark

This ongoing project has been created and developed with Live Umbrella Finland and Bureau of Works; assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts, Vitalstatistix, Dark Mofo, and the APRA/AMCOS Art Music Fund. Witness Stand was originally commissioned for Perth Festival 2021.

Location Details

Pebbles, water and the west pier

Brighton West Pier

Exact location: On the pebbles between the West Pier and British Airways i360.
What3words: ///sits.salsa.sits
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  • Gene Pool 
    Gene Pool are a music, art and sound collective. Formed as a duo in Brighton in 2016, they have evolved into a genre-fluid, seven-piece live act, which is cathartic, flamboyant and joyful.
  • Mrisi 
    Pianist, rapper and producer Mrisi is a multifaceted artist with a varied musical background. Mrisi recently performed live on Mim Shaikh’s Spread The Word on BBC Asian Network.
  • Thor McIntyre Burnie
    Thor is artist & director of Aswarm. His award-winning installations transform sites, using sound, digital interactive tech and sculpture to create site-responsive immersive experiences. Thor's composition builds on recordings he made in collaboration with Chris Watson on the West Pier, prior to its collapse 20 years ago.

Text: Zaid S Sethi
Zaid is a freelance writer, based in Brighton. Born in Pakistan, he came to England when he was a year old. His short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines and anthologies.

Cultural Consultant: Rachel Clark

Thanks to

WPT west pier trust written in blue and orange
Written in dark blue: Brighton Marina Brimming With Possibilities