In the summer of 2010, I was fortunate to travel to Antartica under the auspice of the Argentine Antarctic Division. During my time there, I experienced sensations that I do not expect to be repeated in my life.
I recall the uneasy calm of losing all visibility in a white out, accepting the intensely bitter caress of katabatic winds, swimming in the waters of Esperanza Base to rescue field recording equipment submerged by a recently collapsed glacial cliff face and experiencing a reductive sound environment that could be as close to silence as I am ever likely to encounter.
Each experience, as unexpected as the next, only sought to heighten my sense of curiosity and fascination with a place I will likely never see again. As a memory aid, I made many small works, actions, field recordings, photographs and drawings.
This is a pair of works on paper, made from paint and stone. Antarctica’s geology is wildly dynamic, detailed and constantly in flux, the profound temperature fluctuations shaping and reshaping rocks with a kind of accelerated timescale. I created these miniature impressions, that for me, spoke to the contours of the land that I was surrounded by.
On one of my final days, I heard a mountain murmuring with a low and incessant tone. Yasunari Kawabata’s Yama no oto came to mind.
Lawrence English is an Australian composer, artist, and curator from Brisbane. His work is broadly concerned with the politics of perception, specifically he is interested in the nature of listening, and sounds’ capability to occupy the body. He is the director of the imprint Room40, started in 2000.