Sediment flux is central to geomorphology – the amount and rate at which material is moved by water, ice and wind can tell us information about how landscapes function. In the Anthropocene increasing human disturbance can increase erosion rates and therefore sediment flux. Deison e Mingle provide an unusual example of this by including a river pebble from the Taglamiento River (Italy) carefully wrapped in their cd packaging. Mine is a thin pebble of plectrum-shaped greyish limestone streaked with three veins of quartz. To the touch its rounded edge and a concavity/convexity on the top/bottom lend it a lovely softness. So with this act, the artists have added an extra sensory layer to the work – we can literally feel a direct connection to the river whilst listening to the music and looking at the photographs. These were taken by Deison and Sandra Tonizzo, the latter conceiving the project.
We see a natural river, forested banks, water carried tree trunks lie in the water’s edge, clear waters cover shimmering pebbles. Scientists1 have studied the Taglamiento to learn of the interactions between water, sediment and vegetation – that is to consider river systems as complex ecosystems featuring both physical and biotic components. The only human presence in the photos is a small fire lit on a gravel bar – the fire’s glow mirroring the sunset that streaks both across the sky and through its reflection on the Taglamiento. The fire represents a stopping point on a journey down river described sonically by the album. Ironically much of the album’s sounds are industrial-sounding beats though space is left for field recordings to nurture a sense of place as we are carried downstream.
1Tockner, K. et al. (2003). The Taglamiento: A model ecosystem of European importance. Aquatic Sciences 65, 239-253.