Will Menter, untamed sound
La Dérive Sonore, a 100% natural installation.
Every piece of wood has its own story. Each curve tells where it has been, its very grain hints at its origins. Through “La Dérive Sonore” (Sonic Drift) the British artist Will Menter shapes a conceptual portrait of the Rhône. Implanted in a clearing in the Bois François, the work - as much visual as sonic - is made up of hundreds of pieces of drift wood, gleaned from the banks of the river. “I wouldn’t really call it musical instruments as such," emphasises Will, "It’s more like a group of objects that explore sound. But there are melodies present that I hope you will discover”
“Exploring the positive side of drifting”
If Will Menter has a hidden helper it is nature itself. When he gathers his material he is careful not to alter it. He uses it how it is, just as nature has fashioned it. “I work in harmony with the place. I like the idea of giving a second life to objects that I already find beautiful, before they return to nature once more and disappear.”
Will is originally a musician. “I play the saxophone. During a certain period I improvised and searched for new sounds. I started making my own instruments with bits of wood, amongst other things. Soon, their visual side and the matter from which they were made became just as important to me as their acoustic properties.” Nowadays, Will Menter pursues his art in Burgundy, where he has chosen to live. He makes regular visits to Provence where he works with his preferred materials: wood, water, slate, stones and sometimes ceramics. A literal translation of drift wood into French gives le bois de la dérive. Hence the title, but the French actually call this matter bois flotté (floating wood). “For me, to drift means to let yourself be carried by the current, to stay sensitive to the smallest influence - physical or mental - and to be in harmony with the environment. If we call someone a drifter it is rather pejorative, but I’m trying to explore the positive side of drifting.”