Sight. Spatial awareness. Hearing. My senses are opened to the excitement and intimidation that our natural world offers. Andy Metcalf and Giles Perring’s immersive installation ‘EXPOSURE’ encapsulates the rawness of human expression in parallel to the beastly nature of landscapes. An interdisciplinary approach offers a surrounding of the Earth’s natural, inviting and intimidating sounds and views. Perring’s ‘World Organ’ brings the piece together with sounds of rain splattering against tubes, wind rushing through branches, and waves propelling the world round.
The exhibition is presented as a movement through senses. It offers film, sound, painting, and photography. By inviting the audience to take each aspect as an isolated section, the final stage of video and music bring human vulnerability and the powerful environment together.
The beauty of the earth’s natural cycles, combined with walking through these vast spaces, alludes to the simplicity of peace for humans. The world carries on its most basic functions and produces mighty landmarks. Embracing this space brings people back to their most natural form and removes some of modern-day stresses.
Providing a focus on coastlines and rural landscapes, Metcalf allows us to marvel in the vastness and purity of nature’s creations. By using film photography, the images are filled with a feeling of drama. The angle of the camera is looking up through the long grass to a stormy sky and a dominant mountain. This overwhelming mass is a wonder to people as we realise the immense force of nature. Metcalf’s take on this scene suggests that the sublime is a positive power; we can find ourselves lost in its serenity but equally in its dominance.
Our awe of nature continues as we move round the exhibition and are immersed in the ‘World Organ’. Footage of a desolate environment; wind rushing through barren branches and metal shutters being pushed back and forth on a farm. A woman singing in a cool tone is paired with this scene which creates a chilling and unnerving feeling. The bitterness of weather is explored, showing a human weakness to colder spaces. Human isolation is indicated here as the weather continues fiercely through its cycle, despite outcasting the more precarious in society.
The vulnerability of human expression is suggested through the contrast of the weather’s persistence to dominate. A man walks away from the camera, along a raised beach, towards mountains. His voice questions the fear and isolation people have felt during the pandemic. Metcalf and Perring allude particularly to losing loved ones slowly as the figure becomes small and weaker amongst the rocky landscape yet remains visible. I perceived this as a difficulty felt by many to express how they felt during lockdown. The vulnerability lingers with the man lost in nature just as it has for people figuring out a new way to behave.
Nature is paired with human behaviour to show the challenges mankind has faced during the pandemic, particularly with expressing how we feel. Our admiration and trepidation towards rurality has been a welcomed distraction; something that consumes every sense.
Image via Wikimedia Commons