Earthworks by Semiconductor at Fabrica, Brighton

“…so profoundly moving I spent an hour in the space and was deserted by my companion, but it was worth it.”

Exhibition Review by Cadi Froehlich LG

The snatched opportunity to lay eyeballs on an exhibition last year was embraced in droves, but I found a quiet time, signed the track and trace declaration and entered.

Fabrica Gallery in Brighton is in a building which used to be a chapel and I have seen some glorious celebrations of thought and work here, which are absolutely right for this space of contemplation and elevation. Stepping into the dark space to be confronted with a huge wall of screens and sound was particularly moving after such a restricted year. The physicality of that much light and sound cannot be overstated.

The immersive work comprises an audio track of assembled base natural sounds of the deep earth and crust as they move, crack, groan and splinter, which is blended at times with deep earth works made by humans as they drill and excavate.

These sounds are visualised in mesmerising colours and patterns over a wall of light and movement. They look alarmingly alien whilst somehow feeling familiar and primal.

As the works builds up to the final minutes, the crescendo of sound, colour and texture becomes an overwhelming plaintive yelp in contrast to the guttural slow movements which begin the installation.

Referencing nature at it’s rawest, and perhaps our behaviour at it’s most destructive, the experience as a whole made me feel like an active participant in all stages and I felt protective and defensive at the same time. This was so profoundly moving I spent an hour in the space and was deserted by my companion, but it was worth it.

Fabrica have promised this work will return later this year as part of the rescheduled Brighton Festival, and I can’t wait to visit it again.

After this second period of confinement, I suspect it will have just as powerful an impact.

Cadi Froehlich LG, 2021