(exhibition Sleppet, part of Grieg07, Kunsthall 3.14 and Lydgalleriet, Bergen, Norway; Ultima, Oslo, Norway)

Steps of invisible trespassers, maybe admirers of nature seeking inspiration, moving slowly, occasionally stopping, contemplating, not unlike ourselves in the Norwegian Spring, during the Sleppet recording trip. Moving as if choosing their itinerary less accordingly to the topographic situation but rather by means of some extra sense that would remain mysterious to the casual onlooker. Their steps would be heard as the near-silent clicking and scraping of animated stones.

Observing stones that are apparently stirred by their own momentum might create the feeling of an imminent rockslide, of terrain moving under our feet, or maybe of a yet indeterminate underground energy that puts the stability of the stone field into question—even if the structure of movements has a plausible technical explanation.

Norwegian Stones

During the Sleppet recording trip natural sound was present not only in the form of flowing water, rustling plant leaves, animals moving and calling, but also in the form of sound originating from inanimate matter in motion: rocks falling off from the mountains as avalanches, stones being stepped on.
Rocks and stones were visually quite omnipresent in the landscape, especially as the landscape changes towards the coast of Westlandet—crossing Sula and driving out to the rocky island of Utvær. The stones for Continuum were collected in Våtedalen, Westlandet.

Stone is one of the oldest art media. Man used to draw onto the walls of stone caves, used stones as tools and as sculpted symbols of archaic meanings. Sculpture as a discipline in art is connected (by the simple fact that stone endures erosion and temporal change better than other traditional sculpture materials, such as wood) with longevity, with archaeological time.
In Modern Art—once that artists re-explored the natural environment itself as potential for artworks, stones and rocks are no longer only a basic material to be refined in a sculptural process involving certain rules or figurative aspects, but rather used as evidence of themselves or the landscape from which they were taken. We recall the works of early installation artists such as Richard Long or Robert Smithson who brought artifacts from the natural environment into the gallery, thereby translating qualities of the landscape into a new context. Consequentally, art extended to a wider conception of possible locations for it in the environment.
In traditional and modern sculpture stone is shaped into from, generally not referential time or movement.

In my installation Continuum, stones are used as they were found at Våtedalen, fallen off the mountains, unrefined, but their arrangement is not static—shapes a stone field in the temporal dimension. Some of the stones are animated by motors—making the stones move as if someone invisible was walking over a stone field.
In nature, such an area—especially in the high mountains—is a highly dynamic place, yet perceived as a given, inert landscape, at least as long as it is not “disturbed” or trespassed by living beings.
A dynamic stone field raises questions of stability and instability, triggers notions of energies hidden in geological or seasonal schedules, of inert landscape against animated landcape, and so forth.

Materials: Stones, wood, aluminium, rubber foil, step motors, control interface board with microcomputer, software
Dimensions: 6.00 x 2.40 x approx. 0.25 meters

Acknowledgements: Egon Kurth (hardware), David Scharf, Karl Kliem (software and interface), Thomas Baumgart (motor controls), Arne Søholt, Yngvil Søholt, Hilderun Søholt, Liv Hysing (picking stones).

Photo of Våtedalen: Jørgen Larsson.
Våtedalen, photo © Jørgen Larsson

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