Saturday, October 25, 2008

melting art

"Katie Paterson brought back the sounds, and also the water, from three melting glaciers in Iceland. The sounds were pressed into three LP records - ice creaking, cracking, hissing. Then, after several months of experimentation, moulds were made from them using a very sensitive casting technique, the meltwater from those same glaciers poured into those moulds and frozen, creating ‘ice records’.

These ‘ice records’ were then played on three turntables, playing the sounds of the melting glaciers from whence the water/ice had come, until they had completely melted over nearly two hours. Miniature landscapes were formed as the needle traced over the ice as it was worn down. The sound is embedded, locked, inscribed into the material itself. Playing out the dissolving landscape. Nothing remained.

The work speaks of the ephemeral, notions of immateriality, formlessness; the slow imperceptible decomposition of things. In a sense, the work is a description of death. The record revolving slowly like the globe, having played its music, it’s caught on a dying loop. 

She says “I’m interested in the notion of ‘geological time’ – a vast span of time difficult to comprehend, in relation to ‘human time”. She wanted to bring the scale of the glacier, an immense, remote, geological form, to the ‘human’ scale of an LP.

She refers to the sublime, and the futile attempt of the artist to ‘represent’ or allude to something that is ultimately unrepresentable. This act is in itself a failure.

(from the
website of the the Room gallery)

(Thanks, Peter!)

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