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Janet Cardiff

Janet Cardiff is a Canadian artist who works chiefly with sound and sound installations.

Cardiff first gained international recognition in the art world for her audio walks in 1995. She lives and work in British Columbia, Canada.

The artist worked with the Salisbury Cathedral Choir to record 40 individual singers, playing each voice through its own corresponding speaker. The speakers are carefully positioned in eight different groups of five, responding to the structure of Tallis’s complex vocal piece, or motet. Each group forms a choir of five singers with different vocal ranges: a bass, baritone, tenor, alto and soprano.

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Janet Cardiff and the Forty Part Motet

Janet Cardiff's artwork Forty Part Motet 2001 is an audio installation reworking the sixteenth-century choral work Spem in Alium by English composer Thomas Tallis.

Night Walk for Edinburgh

The image of the street comes up on the iPod screen. It appears that it has been shot in the exact location that you are standing in, almost as if it is in real time.


A figure walks past on the video as another passes by in the real world, the two realities aligning. The sounds from the headphones are startlingly three- dimensional, further merging the two worlds in front of you.


A female voice close behind you says: ‘I think we should get started. Walk with me…’


Canadian artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller returned to Edinburgh to make one of the mesmerizing video walks for which they are acclaimed throughout the world.


Following Cardiff’s voice and walking in her footsteps, you will be led through the backstreets of the Old Town, unraveling a disjointed tale – part game-playing, part surrealistic poetry, perhaps even a murder mystery – layered with history, invention and memories.


This work has was commissioned by the Fruitmarket and is now part of the Gallery’s permanent collection and will be restaged regularly. Acquired by the Fruitmarket with Art Fund support.


Interview with Janet Cardiff at BOMB

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