Our own response to our time spent at Mottisfont has resulted in ‘Raison d’être’ an installation we have integrated into one of the loose boxes in the stable block. Our installation has evolved in response to the many layers, stories, vistas and illusions that seem to permeate the history, landscape and architecture of Mottisfont. The whole process of investigation and the different lines of enquiry that have filled our time at Mottisfont eventually led us to the water source that generated the impulse to originally meet here – the font of Mottisfont.
Mottisfont’s name comes from the spring (font) – which the local community would meet (moot) around. Our installation ‘Raison’d’etre’, is both a response to these early origins of Mottisfont and its present day existence and ‘reason for being’.
The installation comprises of a mirrored chamber containing a diorama of a small river running through it. Viewed through a slot within the doorway, an infinitely meandering stream weaves a path through a landscape as far as the eye can see – beyond the physical boundaries of the building.
We have also incorporated a sound recording ‘Dusk At Eyeworth Wood’ which was kindly sent to us by the composer and sonic artist Hywel Davies (whose own sound installation has been installed in the Cellarium from June till the end of November 2013). This is a beautifully recorded ambient woodland recording from the New Forest which we have remixed to fade in and out on a 30 minute loop. We wanted the sound to intermittently colour the installation and subtly alter how it is perceived, but also blur fact and fiction.
We like the way the landscape internally reflects and like how the mirrors act both as a barrier to what is really behind them but also as a means to project well beyond any physical limitations of the space. We like to think of this as the ‘ha-ha’ in the installation, the disguised border between the controlled inner landscape and the wilder space beyond.
We have purposefully made the installation as beautiful and inviting as possible to draw viewers into its warm red entrance and magical reflecting interior. The whole thing revolves around its seductive and ‘clever’ nature hiding something that is quite brittle which is how we have interpreted the fine balance of things at Mottisfont.
We have always taken the idea of Raison d’être to be broader and more ambiguous than simply pointing out the font as being the source otherwise we would have called the installation Fountainhead or something similar … there is always space for a question mark after the title !!
Thanks to everyone at Mottisfont for making this project possible – it has been brilliant experience and we are missing working there already !
The installation will be on at least until Easter 2014 and maybe longer.