The Writing of Stones

HD Video Projection; indefinite loop.
Vocal music composed by Toby Young, and performed by Robert Stephen. Instrumental music composed and performed by Sophie Sirota. Mixed by Howard Gott.

This is a work that attempts to have a real effect in the world, acting as a form of spell or incantation which will ‘mesmerise’ the viewer. The work is a form of Creation myth, a description, and perhaps even an enacting, of the coming-into-being of living and developing forms. What is seen projected is a kaleidoscope created from close-up images of minerals and crystals filmed at the Museum of Natural History, University of Oxford. On top of these hypnotic images a series of string instruments play a slow, rather drone-like score, while a lone male voice intones, as if in plain-chant, words taken from Roger Caillois’ book The Writing of Stones (1970). This was performed by Robert Stephen, a choral scholar at King's College, Cambridge, and recorded in the college chapel. The vocal music was composed by Toby Young, also a choral scholar at King's, while the instrumental music was written and performed by Sophie Sirota.

Thanks to Monica Price, Museum of Natural History, University of Oxford; Paul Bonaventura, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, University of Oxford; Dr David Skinner, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.