Mark Leckey: in conversation with rocks and refrigerators

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Mark Leckey

Mark Leckey in the Walter Phillips Gallery exhibition BigBoxGreenScreenRefrigeratorActions. Photo: Kim Williams.

A fifteen-foot speaker stack faces an equally tall, oblong chunk of Rundle rock, mined from the mountains and borrowed from the nearby Kamenka Quarry. Approximately every 10 minutes the speakers exhale loudly, blasting the rock with a bone-rattling noise – akin to a sonic boom. Off to the side, a shiny black Samsung refrigerator, of the most modern kind, rests on a background of green screen. A television placed before the refrigerator plays images of the fridge and its potential dreams, along with the humming sounds of an interior monologue.

Together these installations make up BigBoxGreenScreenRefrigeratorActions and build upon Leckey’s previous work. In New York, he donned a cape of green screen and paced next to the fridge huffing refrigerator coolant; creating a fantasy of communion with this virtually sentient inanimate object. His speaker stack BigBox series confronts large objects with sound. His work is about “giving voice” to these otherwise silent objects. To stir such a physically and culturally monumental object as the Rundle rock into conversation he uses an equally large sound. BigBoxNaturalAction blasted Rundle rock in the Walter Phillips Gallery from April to July.

Recently, Leckey returned from London to meet with participants of the A Paper A Drawing A Mountain thematic visual arts residency and I had the chance to meet him for an interview. Listen to an excerpt from our conversation, where Leckey speaks about GreenScreenRefrigeratorActions and conversing with objects rather than theorizing about them.

In next week’s podcast we’ll hear a bit more about Mark Leckey’s anxious, yet affectionate, nostalgia for English corner shops and mystical rave culture.

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About Author

Alyssa was born in Philadelphia and has lived in London (UK) for 14 years. Now she lives in the beautiful mountains of Banff. Keenly interested in narrative and the creative expression of others, she has edited small arts journals, written for artist’s exhibition catalogues, and written essays, articles, fiction, and drama. Her writing on music and politics has appeared in Prospect, Steppe, Songlines, and The National. Her radio features, incorporating journalism, sound design and composition, have aired on London’s Resonance FM. She writes and records songs with her band Dromomaniac, sings, plays guitar and bass.

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