Friday 21st May 2021 to
Saturday 12th June 2021


Phil Coy's Grain is a disembodied sound score for an unseen film.

Assembled from interviews and multi-channel audio recordings made at sites along the Thames Estuary, the sound installation is designed to create a sonic equivalence to the peculiar shifting landscape of the aggregates industry. Here materials formed over millennia, on a gradual passage to the bottom of the ocean, are dredged up and deposited back onto land. Once there they commence a negentropic journey through the construction industry, rising back up into the buildings and architectures that surround us.

The immersive work is installed within the ‘No 3 Covered Slip’ in Chatham’s Historic Dockyard, whose mansard-shaped roof space gives visitors the impression of walking through the cavernous hull of an upturned ship. As with Phil's previous film scores and sound works, Grain is not linear but generative, being altered by the presence of its audience. Their movements trigger divergent voices; an ophthalmologist describing gene therapies developed from the genetic code of Zebrafish to restore damaged human retina; testimonies describing a gradual loss of vision from the partially sighted, and marine biologists describing the phenomena of 'coastal darkening' - which shows human activity to be the cause of increased turbidity in marine environments, inhibiting the vision of marine ecologies.

Grain describes a blurring of vision, the indistinct horizon between sea and land, and an environment subsumed by industrial processes.

This work is located with The Historic Dockyard Chatham. A ticket is required for entry and booking in advance through the Dockyard website is essential. Please see for ticket information, opening times, and prices.

An accompanying film reader, featuring William Fowler, writer and Curator of Artists' Moving Image at the BFI National Archive, looking at Phil's forthcoming film Grit, exploring how its 'amphibian vision' presents a resetting of historic ways of looking through its links to the history of experimental film and cinema, will be published later this year. An abridged version, including an Afterword by Phil, is available to read online now at

Grain features the voices of Joanne Milne, Kevin Prince, Mariya Moosajee, and Rodney Forster. The work has been made possible using public funding by Arts Council England, and with support from the University of Hull, Moorfields Eye Hospital, and The Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Thanks to: Tom Richards, Frances Scott, Meg Jenkins, Magnus Johnson, Sarah Rowland, Samuel Taylor and Sue Jones.


Friday 21st May 2021 to
Saturday 12th June 2021


The Historic Dockyard,


Nearest railway station: Chatham

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