Cairn (2007)

Skills: II-Installation, VI-Sound

An encounter between raw material, photo, sound and public.

“Cairn”, In Situ Project, 2007

Footprints, traces left behind, messages carried by stones as result of erosion, all pilled up in a place with no particular aesthetic value.

Adjectives written on the stones clash with each other. Much like echo of voices that come to die on the ground. A vocal contribution of passers-by by pronouncing the adjectives out aloud completes this disorderly construction.

Five previously photographed close-ups pictures of the stones are installed on five poles around the pile, resembling grave stones.

During the production, NAG experimented and made recordings of the sound produced by the stones. The gentle clacking sound of the stones reminded her of death in Iranian culture. As a matter of fact, Iranians use a small piece of stone to knock on the grave of deceased ones to say hi and to talk to them. Belief in the life after death carries the idea of knocking on the grave stone as a door to the eternal home. This act is an announcement of our presence, a request for hearing and is considered to be soothing and provides sense of security as result of feeling that deceased loved ones are listening.

Inspired by this, the artist asked visitors to play a role in the installation. They were asked to take a rock, read the written word out loud and throw it back on the pile. The sound of rocks was then mixed with the sound produced by the viewers, as if they were flipping through a book made from stone with each page containing only one word. By superimposing the recorded sounds and replaying in a loop, NAG created an installation inspired by the rituals.