(Opening on 23 July, 1998 at Schloss Wolfsberg in the Carinthea region of Austria)


 by Bill Fontana





WILD RETURN is a site-specific sound sculpture for the former Riding Hall of the Schloß Wolfsberg.

The 19th century Riding Hall was built on the physical scale of a large church. It was an architectural statement about the control of nature. Therefore it was quite striking to find this building in its present state of decay, in which nature has returned. This is especially apparent in the large open air space that had been the covered Riding Hall

This sound sculpture is installed in the former horse stables and in the riding hall.

The horse stable has been emptied of all the machinery and materials that had been stored in it. The emptiness of this space with all the remaining details of its life as a horse stable are preserved, including the painted names of some horses such as Satan, Max and Outlaw and an old carriage and hearse. A continuous ambiance of the sounds of pigeons recorded in the ruin of a former church that they had taken over, is juxtaposed and mixed with a series of recordings of horses moving and walking on paved surfaces with the occasional stable sounds of horses breathing and calling.

In the large open air space that had been an indoor riding hall, the return of wild nature is evident, as native vegetation has taken over the space. A continuous mix of lush recordings of songbirds and other natural sounds fills the space and is juxtaposed with the occasional sounds of horses galloping.