A series of clouds is generated by a machine-like sculpture. They appear, float over the surrounding environment and then dissolve into thin air again. The delocalization of this instant of natural beauty evokes a surreal experience. The installation forms a juxtaposition of a metallic structure and synthetic imitations of clouds. This supposed contrast between human technology and nature is explored in a space of unseen possibilities for symbiosis.
As a unique site-specific commission for the Donum Estate, Los Angeles-based artist Doug Aitken has created the ethereal work Sonic Mountain (Sonoma), three concentric circles of suspended stainless-steel pipes whose differing lengths form a wave at their base, mirroring the free Euler-Bernoulli shape that describes the chime’s frequency. Installed in the eucalyptus grove, measuring forty-five feet in diameter and twice human height, and comprising 365 chimes — one for each day of the year — Sonic Mountain (Sonoma) works with one of Donum’s most persistent elements, the Carneros breeze that cools the grapes and creates a temperate zone for growing Pinot Noir. Each day, the warm wind begins its soft whisper, rustling through the vines and trees, building in strength through the day until mid-afternoon, and then gradually diminishing in force. Known to have been used since at least the ancient Roman period in Europe and the second century in India and China, wind chimes create chance, inharmonic music. At Donum, Aitken has teamed up with his friend the composer Terry Riley to compose chords in the chimes to be played by the wind , depending on how it blows, so the lyrical work sounds throughout the estate, demonstrating the artist’s practice of making installations that synthesize many media and are never constrained by tradition.
Your double my double our ghost
The installation acts a space for the consideration of intimacy and meditation– both alone and with others that may share the space – through the merging of the viewer’s own reflections articulated through a composition of shifting light and emerging sounds which fill an otherwise dark chamber. Functioning similarly to the classic funfair mirror– the flexible silver two-way mirror sheeting forming an ethereal hanging centrepiece– the work invites the viewer to consider representations of themselves which appear distorted and transient, and which merge with those around them to form ‘new presences’. In this sense the viewer may see themselves multiplied or doubled with another viewer, or find themselves alone in a rare moment of literal reflection providing a contemplative space or eliciting a hallucinatory fantasy bringing forth ideas in neuroscience around the Self and Other.
Modern Desert Magic
Petecia Le Fawnhawk is a modern surrealist whose body of work is a meditation in form as monuments juxtaposed against minimal and ethereal desert landscapes. In placing elemental shapes in a vast dreamscape, Petecia strips away the unnecessary in an attempt to reveal truth in the mysterious and magisterial.
Ikon of Eros
The tempo of the music changes frequently, illustrating love that at times may be almost austere and at other times ecstatic. In the second movement an ethereal female chorus is suddenly punctuated by deep percussion instruments and gives way to an almost erotic middle eastern beat, contrasting a pure spiritual love with a more physical, sensual form.
Japanese artist Kohei Nawa has immersed visitors at the aichi triennale in undulating sea of bubbling matter, surrounding the walls and floor in porous, cloud-like material. ‘Foam’ inhabits an almost pitch-black room, creating an ethereal quality that seems aesthetically otherworldly walking through the space, the topography of the puffs creates a massive terrain of floating material, stiff enough to stand in place, yet copious in its fragility and delicacy.