Article by Sofia Bergmann // Aug. 16, 2018
In ‘A Grain Within a Cloud of Dust’ at Galerie im Turm, Gil Delindro makes the invisible visible—and audible. With the Algerian-Moroccan desert as his starting point, he extracts the location’s expansive yet sparse and lifeless qualities, bringing them to the Berlin metropolis. Standing in front of the gallery’s entrance, one can already hear sonic moans bellowing from the five speakers inside.
This overwhelming sound, titled Drone Music, is created by a machine receiving data from sensors that detect fluctuations in the frequencies of the electromagnetic field outside the gallery, as well as the frequencies of hanging volcanic rocks in the gallery, brought from the desert. The rocks hang under a decaying tree trunk, which also houses the receiver, and the resulting experience consumes viewers with moments that range from unbearable loudness to complete silence and everything in between. Like in much of Delindro’s previous work, sound is his chosen medium to convey the untouchable, unquantifiable qualities of matter.
The installation of the tree trunk, Ebor, encapsulates the tensions between life and death, the natural and the staged: a dead tree that still hosts green moss, lively ants and spiders is surrounded—and invaded—by manmade structures and technology. Wires connecting sensors to machines and machines to speakers are intertwined with the trunk, its living inhabitants and the volcanic rocks.
Elsewhere in the gallery, Cartographies comprises five stones—collected from the Algerian-Moroccan border, Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Park and Balkan Mountains—each of which is placed on a rotating disk embedded within a larger display table. As the stones slowly move in circles, thin microphones caress their surfaces, like a needle gently touching the surface of vinyl on a turntable. These microphones enhance the otherwise inaudible sounds of the rocks’ movements and textures, and viewers can listen in through corresponding headphones. The piece might bring together disparate geology but more importantly, it uses manmade objects to bring attention to the intricate and unheard details of the natural world.
Delindro is known for his use of several mediums—including sound, video, performance and installation—to manipulate nature in a way that sheds light on concepts of time, decay and geology in a range of landscapes. He’s previously drawn upon places like Brazil, the Sahara and his home country of Portugal. With this work that began in the Algerian-Moroccan desert, he illuminates our complex relationship with natural surroundings. After seeing ‘A Grain Within a Cloud of Dust,’ viewers become more aware of not only their position but also the micro-scale natural occurrences within the cacophony of the everyday, urban world.