Richard Wilson & Zatorski + Zatorski 51° 21’ 45? N, 1° 01’ 13? E Whitstable Sounding: Rockets and blue lights (close at hand) to warn steam boats of shoal water

This video documents a sublime, site-specific water-borne performance created by Richard Wilson and Zatorski + Zatorski for Whitstable. Created by the artists behind 1513: A Ships' Opera, performed in 2013 on the Thames in Central London, Whitstable Sounding was a live, moving, balletic scored concerto of ships’ steam whistles, bells, horns, hooters, flares and sirens.

The vessels were modified to become playable musical instruments, each with the collected vocal cords of a ship of provenance, including from the HMS Ark Royal, SS Bretagne and the Rotherhithe Ferry. A mustering of local historic vessels, Whitstable Sounding begans in the last hour of light on the longest day of 2014.

Ships painted the seascape with steam, smoke and light, setting a Turner-esque stage reverberating with the voices of lost ships calling.

Richard Wilson is a sculptor and sound maker, who has been shortlisted twice for the Turner Prize. In Spring 2014 he installed Slipstream at Heathrow Airport – the largest piece of public sculpture in Europe. Wilson has, since 1983, as a member of the legendary Bow Gamelan Ensemble, been associated in co-creating a number of one off large-scale experimental music performances.

Zatorski + Zatorski are collaborative artists working in the areas of video/film, installation, sculpture and photography, and have exhibited widely. Their ship, De Walvisch, is a fully functioning historic sailing vessel and the base for their extensive art project The Cultureship, which produces, commissions and curates high-impact artworks within a maritime context.

Filmed by Bernard G Mills on Whitstable Beach, 21 June, 2014.