In Nov 2006 Dunhill and O’Brien spent 3 days contemplating and examining an excavation of a hole on the site of a Cistercian Abbey in Tuscania, Italy. The hole, originally dug by itinerant bell founders in the 11th Century, was a special pit used for casting the Abbey’s bell. It was later employed as a burial site for the Abbey’s monks due to its location within the Abbey’s walls on consecrated ground.

Situated in a remote agricultural area the Abbey’s bell would have principally been used to mark the monks’ daily routines. It would also have exerted the Church’s authority (as the principle keeper of time) over a the local area.

The work that Dunhill and O’Brien exhibited in 2008 as part of the exhibition Just World Order, comprised of 3 parts, Object – a tailor made lining formed directly in the bell pit; Walk – a guidebook of a trek that set out to mark the distance the sound of the 40cm diameter medieval bell would have travelled with the gallery as the nominated location of the bell tower; and Phone – a mobile phone with a ringtone of a medieval bell of the same size, weight and shape, recorded at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, that rang intermittently throughout the exhibition.



Photographs in the slide show by Gina Dearden, above by Dunhill and O'Brien

Publication 'Just World Order' is available on request, some copies of Walk are available on request

with thanks to Maria Sole Checcoli and her family for their hospitality, to Mark Backhouse of the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and to Peter Bonnell and Mark Segal of Artsway