An Open Letter of Many Replies
Sarah Rose presents a new commission comprising a multi-channel sound installation in Roundwood Park’s disused bowling green. Taking as its point of departure the letters written between the American writer and conservationist Rachel Carson and her friend and lover Dorothy Freeman, An Open Letter of Many Replies calls back to them as a means to consider the permeability of borders and the queer ecologies that thive beneath, between and through enclosure.
Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring exposed the hazards of the immensely toxic pesticide DDT, and helped further the burgeoning environmental movement. Carson’s work is both poetic and meticulous, espousing the interconnectedness of all living things. Her relationship with Dorothy was inextricably tied to their love of the ocean—as articulated in their correspondence—a space of shifting terrain, distance and proximity.
In a series of letters reflecting on the lovers’ legacy, the artist conjures the speculative figure of the moth. A migrant and nocturnal species which inhabits the park, the moth calls us to consider the ways that borders––between inside and out, both physical and conceptual, urban and rural––necessitate touch. Implicating the visitor in the erotic underworlds of the park by pulling us close to frequencies both familiar and strange, here, human and non-human species intersect, reminding us of the various ways that we can interact with space beyond imposed limits.
Playing with moments of seeing and unseeing, the installation moves through questions of home in the context of land-ownership, environmental shifts, the climate crisis and the queer ways of being that thrive despite such forces. The work invites us to pay attention to ways of life that may not always be seen or recognised, highlighting the fact that invisibility is not synonymous with non-existence.
Sarah Rose works in sculpture, sound, installation and expanded forms of publishing. Her interests lie in what is considered ephemeral but has lasting impacts and residues. In her practice, materials move freely in and out of abstractions, intimately tracing different material states and temporalities, including those existing at the edges of perception. The work draws from experiences, narratives and histories that foreground care and the possibility of recentering society around it, connecting humans with one another and the non-human world.
Access key: transcription, online access (please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a link).
Click here for a pdf version of the printed transcript which accompanies the installation.