As part of its ongoing project Radical ESSEX, Focal Point Gallery has announced an ambitious new sound commission by the artist and musician Mark Fell. Using sound synthesis and pattern generating systems, A Stitch Outside Time is presented in the form of an app that has been designed to uniquely complement journeys on the London to Southend c2c train line, which traverses the towns of Barking, Basildon, Pitsea and Benfleet through to Shoeburyness. In conjunction with its launch, Focal Point Gallery will stage a major solo exhibition by Fell, ‘The Concept of Time is Intrinsically Incoherent’, opening 19 January 2019.
A Stitch Outside Time explores how we perceive and experience time through a ceaselessly evolving sound composition. c2c passengers will be able to listen to Fell’s ever-changing sound work as it employs generative music technology to respond to the train’s movement and exact location, never hearing the same piece of music twice. The composition is based upon the ‘tala’, an elaborate rhythmic system drawn from Indian classical music, and has been conceived in relation to the landscape and sites intersected by the c2c route – specifically its off-track locations. These processes are brought together in the purpose-built app, which has been designed in collaboration with artist Rian Treanor and developer Peter Worth.
Fell’s first solo show in a UK institution, ‘The Concept of Time is Intrinsically Incoherent’ is comprised of a number of newly produced works that explore and extend the artist’s interest in space, time and materiality. Presented in the gallery’s window frontage is a mesmeric installation of shimmering gold foil illuminated by LED lighting, whose autonomous movement is controlled by a mechanical actuator.
In further works, Fell takes direct material cues from Southend’s historic Victorian fairground, the Kursaal, and the town’s seafront arcades. In the main gallery space, a transparent maze encloses a mirrored room lit by multicoloured lights. These have been positioned to create an infinite kaleidoscopic loop synced to a Shepard tone – a sonic device used to create the illusion of continuously ascending or descending pitch – in turn disrupting spatial and temporal coherence. The second gallery adds a new installation to the artist’s series of works utilising stroboscopic light technology.
The research-driven practice of Mark Fell questions cultural and mathematical representations of time, and investigates how time is constructed within (and embedded throughout) the systems we build around ourselves, and the impact this has upon our understanding of our place in the world. His wide-ranging influences include experimental cinema, electronic music subcultures, contemporary philosophy, physics, anthropology and choreography. These themes will be further explored in an events programme running alongside the exhibition.
A Stitch Outside Time will be available to download on both iPhone and Android from Saturday 19 January 2019, when c2c will provide half price train tickets from London Fenchurch Street to Southend Central for the opening event of ‘The Concept of Time is Intrinsically Incoherent’.
A Stitch Outside Time is commissioned as part of Radical ESSEX, an ongoing project that re-examines the county in relation to radicalism in thought, lifestyle, politics and architecture through its twentieth century histories. Both the commission and the exhibition are generously funded by Arts Council England, with additioning support from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and c2c.
19 January to 21 April 2019
Focal Point Gallery
More information: fpg.org.uk