ASH DOME by R. Seiliog (CUE DOT 008)
“The person who doesn’t scatter the morning dew will not comb gray hairs” (Hunter S. Thompson)
When the sculptor David Nash decided to create his “Ash Dome” in 1977 he wanted to create a piece of land art that was dependent on natural forces, his desire was to have the piece outlive him. After more than forty years the Ash trees in the dome fell victim to Ash dieback and Nash has had to accept that it will not outlive him. All things must pass.
Now the artist R. Seiliog has created a new work, a sonic sculpture, inspired by Nash and, as with the original Land Art, it is formed, forged and utterly dependent on natural forces. As the trees in the dome are ravaged, and destroyed, by the dieback the spirit of the piece is born again in the soundscapes that R. Seiliog has crafted.
The location of Nash’s sculpture is a secret and so few of us will ever be able to visit the site but as I sat, alone, in the darkness at the end of, another, long and troubling week which was blighted by bad news, ill health, challenging relationships and the humdrum and horror of modern life, I found myself sat in the centre of the dome.
I could feel the dew on the grass, the cool breeze flash through the branches, the stillness of the surroundings. I could hear the leaves rustle, the whisper of the insects, the absence of the modern. I could touch the world around me. I knew my place in the world, could sense that, if I stopped thinking and just “felt” that I could find…peace?
A few nights ago I showed my daughter, aged 9, some scenes from various Alfred Hitchcock films. I chose moments where little, to nothing, is said. The crop duster scene from “North by Northwest”, the arrival of Uncle Charlie in “Shadow of a Doubt” and I told her that Hitchcock was keen to show the audience…not to tell them. That is what is happening here, R. Seiliog has no need to “tell” us what to feel or to impose upon us the words he would use to describe his feelings. Instead he allows us to simply experience the moments and the emotions for ourselves. What words can adequately describe nature?
Moments like this fall far outside of popular music and culture. This is art. Free from artifice and pretence. As the sounds wash over you they leave a lasting impression on you. This is music of great emotion and real beauty. If it were to be “displayed” in a gallery it would be in a dimly lit room, a single chair in the centre, one person at a time would be permitted access and they would hear the thing in its entirety before being allowed to leave. It is to be experienced as a whole.
There will be no dieback to rob us of the sounds, and feelings, of “Ash Dome”. The only thing that could deny you its delicate beauty is your own unwillingness to be still and to experience it.
'Ash Dome' is released on August the 27th