On Vanishing Land

Linking Anglo-Saxon burial grounds, Brian Eno and Suffolk’s coastline, installation On Vanishing Land is no ordinary artwork.

Out to sea

The piece, coming to London gallery The Showroom next month, is the result of a walk along the Suffolk coastline in 2005, in which sound artists Mark Fisher and Justin Barton traversed a trail from Felixstowe container port to the Anglo Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo, and reworked the experience into something wholly strange and imaginative.

The work, described by the gallery as ‘a new form of sonic fiction from the dreamings, gleamings and prefigurations that pervade the Suffolk coast’, forms an audiovisual installation that aims to capture the sense of the eerie that the artists feel the stretch of coastline exemplifies.

Blue skies along the coastline

The pair roped in a raft of musicians including Baron Mordant, Dolly Dolly, Gazelle Twin, John Foxx, Pete Wiseman, Raime and Skjolbrot for the 45-minute work, in which listeners will also hear snippets of interviews with the artists.

The installation will see listeners sat in the middle of the darkened gallery space surrounded by speakers, aiming to create a communal feel, eschewing the usual headphoned introspection of much sound art, says the gallery.

Back to nature

A 50-minute visual display of projected photographs taken by Barton and Fisher will follow the sound piece, showing the places and landmarks that help trigger the audio.

Rachel Cass, communications and development manager at The Showroom, says, ‘It’s going to be quite an intimate thing – it’s not like going to a concert, it’s quite personal.’

She adds, ‘The artists are really interested in the sense of the eerie within the landscape, and they felt that there were different memories or cultural layers within the landscape of the Suffolk coast that related to that.’


To explore the idea of the eerie further, On Vanishing Land looks to also examine the links between he ghost story in the 1904 M.R. James novel Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad and Brian Eno’s 1982 album On Land.

Cass says, ‘They explore the sense of the eerie, and things that are outside the rational. It’s about making links between things you wouldn’t necessarily expect – connecting memories, histories, literature and music.’

The Showroom space
The Showroom space

On Vanishing Land runs from 6 February – 30 March at The Showroom, 63 Penfold Street, London NW8. A performance by John Foxx and Raime takes place on 7 March. For more information visit www.theshowroom.org

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