Ralph Hoyte, 'Past Present Fuschia' - Cabot Circus, Bristol (Bristol Alliance).





Bristol-based poet and text-based artist Ralph Hoyte’s first major piece in his year long residency with the Bristol Alliance, ‘Past-Present…Fuchsia’ is a 440 foot long text-based work. This unique temporary installation uses the hoardings, which wrap around the site of Quakers Friars, part of the Cabot Circus mixed-use development in the centre of Bristol, as a vast canvas.


The work was a poetic response to this historically dense and significantly modern central site and to engage passers-by in a richly allusivecity dialogue within a striking graphical framework. The title of the work also carried an inherent query into what the future holds. 

The work takes the viewer on a journey, or multiple journeys, with a repetitive theme of ‘FROM THERE TO HERE’ which binds the piece together, taking multifarious starting points (for example, from the West Coast of Africa or indeed the journey of Mankind from beyond time and space): how did we get HERE? The exhibit also examined key elements of Bristol’s history, the significance of the Frome Culvert beneath the site, imbued with poetic interpretations of living in the city as well as short fashion statements – in homage to the nature of the development. 

The work is believed to have been the longest, site-specific, text-based pieced in the country and carried a multitude of cogitations. One of these was devoted to the ‘Frome Maidens’, Hoyte’s Bristol equivalent to the ‘Rhine Maidens’, they form a type of Greek chorus and speak their own elliptical language. The Frome, which still runs beneath Broad Wier, is the geographical reason for the city’s foundation at theconfluence of the River Avon. Other references are to architectural styles, bell-ringing changes, musical commentary, Indian classical music rhythms, climate change and finally a philosophical exhortation inviting passers-by to ‘listen to the sounds of the city’.  

Ralph Hoyte 

Ralph Hoyte is a Bristol-based full-time professional poet, writer and artist. Ralph believes ‘poetry’ is a live art. His practice includes declamatory public poetry, sculptural poetry and literary content for pervasive, or context-aware media applications. He specializes in epic poetry and ballads (from about 40min to 3 1/2 hrs declamation time). His sculptural work is, usually, word-based and realised in collaboration with sculptors.

One of Ralph’s current major interests is the role of emerging digital technologies in 21st century literature, and specifically that of so-called ‘pervasive media’ (or ‘context-aware media’). In this field, Ralph idea-initiated then (with filmmaker Liz Crow) co-wrote, -directed and -produced 1831 RIOT! ‘the world’s first GPS-triggered pervasive media play’, based in Queen Square, Bristol, for Mobile Bristol & Hewlett-Packard Labs. Having recently completed a pervasive media producers summer school (with the Digital Cultures Research Centre of the University of the West of England), Ralph is actively seeking partners to produce context-aware applications in the areas of literature, poetry and live art. As a live art performer, Ralph is actively seeking opportunities to perform his epic poems and ballads (‘the mytho-poetic voice’) as well as his distinctive ‘fragmentary’ 21st century poetry. 

"“What is interesting in a temporary, site-specific and publicly accessible work is observing what ‘the environment’ does with it: there were few ‘contributions’ from graffiti artists but many from the organised chaos of a busy building site with panels appearing and disappearing regularly, dumptrucks backed into them, safety notices tacked up etc, all of which altered the words and their possible interpretations in interesting ways…”
Ralph Hoyte