The Showroom / Otolith Collective announces Mark Fisher and Justin Barton On Vanishing Land

The Showroom / Otolith Collective presents Mark Fisher and Justin Barton On Vanishing Land on view 6 February–30 March 2013, a new work by British sound artists and theorists Mark Fisher and Justin Barton.


Mark Fisher and Justin Barton, On Vanishing Land (production still), 2012. Commissioned by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom, London. Photo © Mark Fisher. Courtesy the artists.

On Vanishing Land (2013; 45 minutes) is a magisterial audio-essay that evokes a walk undertaken by the artists along the Suffolk coastline in 2005, from Felixstowe container port to the Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo.

Fisher and Barton have conjured a new form of sonic fiction from the dreamings, gleamings and prefigurations that pervade the Suffolk coast. The work includes commissions from digital musicians, interviews and the reflections of the artists. 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’s 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 integrates new compositions by digital musicians Baron Mordant, Dolly Dolly, Ekoplekz, Farmers of Vega, Gazelle Twin, John Foxx, Pete Wiseman, Raime and Skjolbrot. For the installation at The Showroom it will be accompanied by an untitled sequence of a wide range of visual references, produced in collaboration with artist Andy Sharp (English Heretic).

Events accompanying the exhibition include a performance on 7 March by John Foxx and Raime of compositions from the project. On 16 March, Fisher and Barton, with The Otolith Collective, John Foxx, Frances Morgan (Deputy Editor, The Wire) and Elizabeth Walling (Gazelle Twin), will explore the contemporary cultural fascination with the illogics of the Eerie. Finally, a conversation at the Boathouse café on the River Deben, Suffolk between the artists and Andy Sharp (English Heretic) will discuss the reimagining of MR James’s ghost stories by television directors Jonathan Miller and Lawrence Gordon Clark since the late 1960s.

On Vanishing Land was jointly commissioned, produced and curated by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom. Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. We gratefully acknowledge funding from PRS for Music Foundation and The Showroom Supporters. Event support from Markson Pianos and Bawdsey Radar.

Mark Fisher (b. 1968) has worked with sound since the mid 1990s as a founding member of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit at Warwick University. He is the author of the influential Capitalist Realism (Zer0, 2009) and the forthcoming Ghosts of my Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (Zer0, 2013). Since 2004, he has written the celebrated blog k-punk and is a regular contributor to publications including The Wire and Film Quarterly. He lectures in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths and is a Commissioning Editor for Zer0 books.

Justin Barton (b.1962) is a writer, philosopher and sound artist who recently completed his first novel The Corridor.

The Showroom is a space for contemporary art that is focused on a collaborative and process-driven approach to production: be that artwork, exhibitions, discussions, publications, knowledge and relationships. For thirty years, The Showroom has invested in artists to make their first solo show in London, including Jim Lambie, Eva Rothschild, Mona Hatoum, Simon Starling, Claire Barclay, Rebecca Warren, Can Altay and Emily Wardill.

The Otolith Collective was founded in 2002 by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun (b. 1967). The Collective integrates film and video making with the production of public platforms for close readings of experiments in sound and image. Kodwo Eshun lectures in Aural and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths. He is the author of Rock My Religion (The MIT Press/Afterall, 2012).

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