Mira Calix Talks Singing Stones And Manmade Nature [Video]

<p>The UK artist and musician meditates upon her sound installation <i>Nothing Is Set In Stone</i>.</p>

For London’s Cultural Olympiad, Mira Calix created a singing stone sculpture, Nothing Is Set In Stone, that sits on a hill just outside of London in the Redbridge nature reserve of Fairlop Waters.

The piece was put together with the help of minerologists from the Natural History Museum in London, with music recorded by the University of Johannesburg choir. In the video, Calix talks about how the piece explores the idea of change and the illusion of permanence that something like these stones can create.

I became quite fixated with the idea that with these stones, time is slowing down. The erosion process and the change is no longer visible to the eye, but they are still changing. And it was this idea of change is constant, the things that appear to be still are always moving.

Another important factor was making the piece look at once both natural and manmade—this was achieved by combining the four elements with a fifth, the human, and is reflected both in the sound composition and the structure of the piece. And, just like the famous prehistoric stone sculptures of the English countryside—Avebury stone circle and Stonehenge—Calix wanted the piece to have an air of mystery to it, a sense that it’s been put there by some unknown culture and there’s no explanation for its presence.

It was also important that this intangible mystery was juxtaposed with the physicality of it being able to be touched and experienced, that it could carry the duality of being enigmatic but palpable, of being still but moving.

I wanted to make magic and that may sound rubbish to people, but to me it’s really important. So it was ethereal and it is experiential and it is why it’s so inexplicable. I think you do just get that sense of being grounded. It was so important you could half-hold it, you could be with this thing.

And, as Calix says in the video above, “it belongs to everyone now.”

Visit Nothing Is Set In Stone at Fairlop Waters in Redbridge, from now till September 9th.