Artist and writer Tim Etchells discusses Unsound Method (after Conrad), his new work for A Room for London, produced by Artangel, which responds to Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness and comprises several discrete works: two versions of the novel (available as an unlimited epub edition and as a limited edition print publication), a musical score for violin and trumpet, and a video featuring a live performance of the score by Simon Tong (trumpet) and Aisha Orazbayeva (violin).
He talks about how he came to devise these new epublication and print edition versions of Conrad’s great novella – titled Unsound Method I & II – and how they respond to (and alter) the text of Conrad’s book so that only particular sets of words from the original manuscript remain.
For example, in the first – Unsound Method I – the pages are redacted in white and only words associated with light – day, bright, sun, morning and so on – remain visible, carving out a poem which was always present in the material of the original novel. And in the second version of the work – Unsound Method II – the pages of Heart of Darkness are again redacted, this time in black, and leaving only words associated with darkness – night, gloom, shadow, black and so on – as visible traces on the page.
Finally, Etchells reflects on the second phase of Unsound Method, a musical composition in which the sequence and positioning of the same words – day, bright, sun, white, night, gloom, shadow, black and so on – in Conrad’s novel, were used to generate a score for trumpet (playing the sequence of words associated with darkness) and violin (playing the sequence of words associated with light), which was then performed aboard A Room for London.
Built by Living Architecture and designed by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner, A Room for London is a one-bedroom, boat-shaped installation perched on top of the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. To hear Fiona Banner and David Kohn describe the project, click here.
Tim Etchells’ Unsound Method forms part of the Hearts of Darkness series, which contains new work inspired by stays in A Room For London, which you can see here.
Visit this page to explore the concerts from A Room For London which have also been featured on The Space.