Rob St John
Rob St John is an artist and writer from rural Lancashire, UK. His practice is focused on the blurrings of nature and culture in contemporary landscapes. He works primarily across sound, moving image, installation and film photography.
The Örö audio-visual installation and artists’ book were created from fieldwork and practice between January 2016 and June 2021. The installation highlights the tensions and transitions through a landscape of nationally important ecosystems and species; decaying and rusting military structures, war graves, Iron Age burial cairns and a nascent tourism industry. It uses sonification techniques to turn environmental data sets into musical compositions. You hear the dynamics of a 1500-year-old Baltic seabed core (showing how human impact is altering geological formation), eutrophic algae blooms in the sea (due to warming temperatures and nutrient pollution), and photosynthesis fluctuations in an island birch tree. This work forms a new mode of documenting the tangles of life that pattern Örö, across various scales of space and time.
The artists’ book accompanies the installation, using cameraless photography and texts to offer new mappings of the Örö landscape.