This May, our latest Artists in Residence Action Hero set off from Bristol on a six month journey across Europe. In a motorhome housing a recording studio, they are currently travelling over 30,000km, recording songs of love, hope, heartbreak, loss and desire, sung by the people they meet. The project is called Oh Europa.

This ever-evolving archive is being broadcast 24/7 from beacons placed, by the artists, at the literal edges of the continent - but also the invisible boundaries, margins, cultural junctures and geological edgelands of Europe. The public are invited to download the Oh Europa app (available on the Apple Store and Google Play) and visit the sites of beacons to hear the songs.

Local people whom they meet along their travels are contributing ideas as to where the beacons should be placed, adding to the meandering route. For example, a beacon is broadcasting at La Pangée in the French village of La Baume Cornillane. According to locals, the village was at the centre of the prehistoric land mass of Pangea 240 million years ago. Another can be found on the World War I front line near Ypres, at the site of a mine crater. We also very excited that there is a beacon right here in Bristol, broadcasting this wonderful song cycle. It can be found at the Avon Gorge, on the spot where the New Cut and the River Avon intersect. The app contains a compass that will guide you to your nearest beacon and enable you to listen. Be sure to pack your headphones!

So far, 20 beacons span Portugal, Spain, France Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium. As they travel northwards, new points will be added. Short videos of each beacon can be found on Action Hero's Instagram.

Oh Europa is a beautiful project that re-imagines the ways we think about Europe and how we continue to share this space. You can hear more about it on a recent edition of BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction. 

Action Hero return to Bristol for the final presentation of Oh Europa on 20 Oct as part of Bristol Old Vic's Ferment. They will be inviting the people of Bristol to record a love song to add to the archive, this will also be a chance to listen to some of the many songs recorded on their six month journey at the Oh Europa van.

And, Watershed’s Winter Residencies programme is currently open for applications. The deadline is this Mon 25 June at 10am. So if you need some time and space to develop an idea, please take a look at the brief.


Studio themes