In 2013 The Otolith Collective and The Showroom presented On Vanishing Land, a new work by British sound artists and theorists Mark Fisher and Justin Barton.
On Vanishing Land (2013, 45min) is an expansive audio-essay that evokes a walk undertaken by the artists along the Suffolk coastline in 2006, from Felixstowe container port to the Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo.
Fisher and Barton conjured a new form of sonic fiction from the dreamings, gleamings and prefigurations that pervaded the Suffolk coast. Inspired by the cumulative force of the Eerie that animates this landscape, On Vanishing Land pursues affinities between the modernist reinvention of the ghost story in M.R. James’ Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad (1904) and the atmospheric engineering of Brian Eno’s album On Land (1982).
'Themes of incursion – by unnameable forces, geological sentience or temporal anomaly – recur throughout.' (Kodwo Eshun, The Otolith Collective, Curator, On Vanishing Land)
On Vanishing Land includes commissions from digital musicians Baron Mordant, Dolly Dolly, Ekoplekz, Farmers of Vega, Gazelle Twin, John Foxx, Pete Wiseman, Raime and Skjolbrot.
The installation was accompanied by an untitled sequence of a wide range of visual references, produced in collaboration with artist Andy Sharp (English Heretic).
The work was premiered at The Showroom in 2013, as part of an exhibition co-commissioned and produced by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom.
In 2019, The Showroom hosted the first combined playback of On Vanishing Land and londonunderlondon, also by Fisher and Barton. The event, Incursions, Departures, culminated in a conversation between Barton, Dalia Neis (voice in londonunderlondon) and Pete Wiseman (musician on On Vanishing Land), along with a Q&A and general discussion.
On Vanishing Land was released as an album, on Hyperdub, in 2019
Image: Mark Fisher and Justin Barton, Album cover of On Vanishing Land, 2013. Photos: Mark Fisher. Courtesy the artists.
Mark Fisher and Justin Barton: On Vanishing Land was jointly commissioned and produced by The Showroom and The Otolith Collective.
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. We gratefully acknowledge funding from PRS for Music Foundation. Event support from Markson Pianos and Bawdsey Radar.
Cultural theorist, Fisher (1968–2017) wrote Capitalist Realism (2009) and Ghosts Of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (2014) and was Programme Leader of the MA in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London.More
Born in 1962, Barton is a philosopher and writer who has published academic philosophical articles and has collaborated on projects with artists and theorists. With Mark Fisher he made the audio-essays londonunderlondon (2005) and On Vanishing Land (2013). In December 2019, The Showroom presented *'Incursions, Departures' - the first combined playback of the audio-essay works, followed by a discussion with Justin Barton, Dalia Neis and Pete Wiseman.More
The Otolith Collective is a publicly funded, not-for-profit arts organisation run by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar of the award-winning artist collective The Otolith Group. The Otolith Collective develops research into lectures, seminars, discussions and screening programmes with a wide range of museums, foundations and private institutions.More
A sound work about the Eerie in the Suffolk landscape, commissioned by The Otolith Collective and The ShowroomMore
Andy Sharp (b.1968) runs English Heretic, an organisation dedicated to the commemoration of tragic figures and the exploration of occult landscapes. Since 2003, English Heretic has released numerous records including Plan for the Kidnap of Princess Anne (2011) and two volumes of Wyrd Tales: A New English Heretic Library Reader (2007 and 2011).
Dolly Dolly (b.1970) is an artist, musician and apiarist who lives and works in Berkshire. His debut album Antimacassar is out in 2013 on Exotic Pylon Records.
Farmers of Vega *(b.1975) is the production name of musician Aled Rees whose music explores the intersection between drone, rhythm and the Eerie. Rees previously contributed music to *londonunderlondon (2005). **
John Foxx (b.1947) is a vocalist, songwriter, musician and writer. He also founded and designed Ultravox!, one of the most influential groups of the post-punk era. His first solo album, Metamatic (1980), is a landmark in British electronic music. His collaborations with musician Harold Budd on the albums Translucence and Drift Music (2003) were integral to the affective tone of londonunderlondon. Since 2011, Foxx has collaborated with musician Benge Edwards as John Foxx and The Maths. Evidence, their most recent album, was released in 2012.
Gazelle Twin (b.1981) is the production name of artist, musician and composer Elizabeth Walling. Her first album, The Entire City (Anti-Ghost Moon Ray), was released in 2011. Gazelle Twin’s most recent release is the EP Mammal (Sugarcane Recordings (2013)).
Baron Mordant (b.1966) is founder of Mordant Music which functions as an artist name and as a record label. Mordant Music’s records include Dead Air (2006), SymptoMs (2009) and MisinforMation (2010), his acclaimed DVD of new soundtracks recorded for Central Office of Information films of the 1970s and 1980s released by the British Film Institute.
Ekoplekz (b.1969). The producer Nick Edwards, otherwise known as Ekoplekz, combines radiophonics, industrial noise and disintegrated dub with a commitment to primitive hardware and lo-fi cassette recording. Edwards has released records on the labels Punch Drunk, Mordant Music and Public Information. His most recent album was released under his own name on Editions Mego in 2012.
Raime are Joe Andrews (b.1981) and Tom Halstead (b.1980), one of the most influential duos in contemporary electronic music. Their highly acclaimed debut album, Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, was released on the label Blackest Ever Black in 2012.
Skjolbrot (b.1981) Skjolbrot’s recordings meld documentary material with analogue and digital synthesis. His first release Maersk (2010) was informed by dub, the landscapes of industrial infrastructure and Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project. His new record is forthcoming in 2013.