Multimedia installation by Russell Mills and Ian Walton
Sound by Russell Mills and Mike Fearon with Tom Smythe.
Sonic Boom - The Art of Sound, Hayward Gallery, London 27th
April - 18th June 2000.
Accepting that history and memory feed continuity and change,
giving shape to living things and substance to our speculations
of possible futures, Mantle explores the idea of land as force
and as a metaphor for transformation, whilst also seeking
to articulate a sense of the immense global influence of human
impact on the landscape over time. Mantle has evolved out
of, and is a reflection on, a multitude of inter-related ideas
born out of our awareness of the aesthetic of the natural
world as being profundly and inextricably political and economic.
It dwells on the uneasy and currently unbalanced symbiosis
between land as fundamental matter and how we shape it and
are in turn shaped by it. Occupations, habitations, trade
routes and the subsequent exchange of cross-cultural ideas,
have all been primarily dictated by the hidden laws of nature's
ceaseless flux. In all instances it is the land , the climate
and the cynical, relentless processes of the phenomenal world
which ultimatly determines our actions.
Mantle's larger outer cylinder, a zone of separation, muted
as an anechoic chamber, clad in sheep fleeces, suggests a
shelter, temporary, ephemeral, at one remove from the shepherd's
cloak, the minimum required for respite. Sheltered within
it is an inner cylinder made of x-rays of human skulls, representing
the bothy of charcoal burner, the resin gatherer, the bodger
or the willow worker, the leaf-hut of the amazon jungle and
the shantytowns of the world's "cardboard cities".
The sonic elements of the work arose out of the contextual
roots which anchor and bind the installation. The sound has
been conceived so as to create a magnified sense of place,
time and emotion, whilst emulating the experience of listening
in a landscape, whether it be rural or urban, where one is
enveloped in a wide sonic backdrop of indeterminate sounds.
Sonic material used includes the human (blood flow frequencies,
breathing), the mechanical (rock drilling, stone cutting and
various industrial machines), the natural (field recordings
of rivers, winds, birds, animals) and the found and manipulated
(glass and metal, spinning, stone struck, wood beaten, etc).
Each element has been extensivly treated so as a collectively
to evoke an invented, previously unimagined place. five cds
each carrying a unique palette of these audio elements, each
of different durations, all loop at varying intervals, thereby
setting up yet another series of endlessly mixes in real time.