Friday, 1 October 2010

The Temple of a Thousand Bells

It is strange how stories can stay with you, how a story can just float just below the surface of the sea of your everyday thoughts occasionally breaking the surface to remind you of its presence. This is the essence of Laura Belem’s installation The Temple of a Thousand Bells, which has it origin in the recounting of such a story to the artist.

That story itself was the tale of a mythical temple which sank under the sea and the sailor who was haunted by the idea of being able to hear these bells despite them being held silent by the pressure of the ocean.

It’s not hard imagine the sound of these ghostly bells ringing in the artist head as on her travels she herself recounted this story only to find that the temple and the bells had a place within many cultures around the world. It has now found a spiritual home amongst the tributes and columns within the Oratory.

Throughout the piece the nature of narrative and memory is bought to the fore, and our role, as audience, in the narrative is questioned. Rather than simply take a passive role within the story the nature of the installation seems to allow you to take on the role of protagonist, to become originator of this tale.

If you forgive the pun you become submerged within the fiction, in a space which temporally reconfigures the normal boundaries of the everyday and sets us free to explore the boundless nature of this ocean of memory and fiction.

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