Rocks and Hard Places


For Rocks and Hard Places artist Gregor Vogel concerned with the singing dune in Altyn Emel national park, a renown natural monument and geological phenomenon. Famous for emitting sounds during dry weather similar to the tune of an organ, the dune has been the cause of superstitions from ancient times.

Mostly focussing on his feet – the main point of interaction between humans and their surroundings – the video that is part of the work shows the artist’s effort to climb the dune and experience its singing. While the artist ascends the dune he is gradually more exhausted as well as more exposed to the sandstorm complicating his climb and damaging his recording equipment, both of which can be heard and felt in the video.

By turning the provided hourglass filled with sand from the singing dune, visitors get a chance to repeat the endeavors depicted in the video on a domesticated scale.

The work was shown within the context of the exhibition Ghost Expedition curated by Anvar Musrepov. The exhibition project presented the results of the field research where a group of artists from Europe and Kazakhstan undertook an expedition in Kazakhstan looking for specific areas recorded in the people’s memory as sacred places. Monuments of eld pagan cults, power places, necropolises of the Palaeolithic age, medieval islamic mazars and unique natural phenomena were uncovered through art and technology.

The large windows of the exhibition space were covered with blue foil, the light entering from outside covered the space in varying shades of blue, visually reminding of the desert sky‘s tint during the hour of dawn, which is said to be the time when ghosts are able to travel from one world to another.


Other participants of the exhibition were Grzegorz Demczuk, Nazira Karimova, Marek Mardosewicz, Anvar Musrepov & Arman Sein.

Art © Gregor Vogel 2020