A couple of weeks ago I called attention to an exhibition that had just opened in London called “Melancholia: A Sebald Variation.” Poet and translator Will Stone recently paid a visit to the Inigo Rooms of Somerset House and wrote a review of the exhibition for The London Magazine. “This exhibition constitutes a rare gift” to the viewer, he wrote. Unfortunately, the magazine doesn’t provide online access to non-subscribers, so I asked Will if I could reprint small portions of his piece.
According to Will, the exhibition is really “about destruction, or rather W.G. Sebald’s eponymous work On the Natural History of Destruction (1999) and the way melancholy alluringly affixes to these tragic scenes, which, once having leaked away the reality of their human suffering, become artistically aligned images whose visual message creates a space for new creativity.” Read more
After my most recent post on Georges Rodenbach‘s novel Bruges-la-Morte, artist and Airform Archives blogger Steve Roden sent me a link to his 2008 project in Kortrijk, Belgium called when books are like butterflies. Loosely inspired by Rodenbach’s book, Steve created an environment that visitors could walk through while listening to sounds that were generated using Rodenbach’s text. The ambient sounds emanated from speakers placed within folded books with specially made dust jackets.
i began by notating every sound in the book as well as every color that appears in sequence, and used these lists to generate a sound work, a text work, and a set of images. the installation consisted of a series of 15 sculptural forms, each using two books and an audio speaker. the text and images exist in the form of printed dust jackets which cover the books, and visually frame the sound as it emanates from the speaker. the text follows the description of every sound in the book, in sequence, with each text also following the color sequence of the book. the images are mostly background images from victorian photographs i have collected over the years, that somehow relate to the generator of every sound in the text (such as swan’s wings, or a bell).
…my main interest was in creating a space of intimate wandering…
Enjoy the links!
As a big fan of Georges Rodenbach’s novel Bruges-la-Morte, the first fictional work to include photographs, I’m delighted to learn about the LibriVox version of the book. LibriVox (“accoustical liberation of books in the public domain”) creates free, easily downloadable audio books. Because they use works that are in the public domain (at least within the US), many of the titles are fairly obscure. Tucked in and around long-forgotten works like The Briefless Barrister by John Godfey Saxe and The Romance of Modern Chemistry (1910!) by James C. Philips, one can find other titles by Sophocles, William James, Wilkie Collins, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, just to name a few authors whose works were added in the month of July.
Take a listen to Bruges-la-Morte (in French), excellently read by “Ezwa.”