Mariko HORI

Mellowing the Corners

installation / Pulhamite boulders, objects donated by residents / 2021
Commissioned for Creative Folkestone Triennial / Permanent

This work was inspired by The Zig-Zag Path, built in the 1920s from Pulhamite to appear as natural rocks and grottos on the face of The Leas Cliff.

Mellowing the Corners, consists of newly made Pulhamite ‘boulders’, on three different sites: fake rocks that could be personified as ‘trying to act naturally’ to blend in with their environment. While the surface coating of the rocks on the Leas Cliff are now wearing away to reveal the inorganic rubbish used as bulking material, the boulders of Mellowing the Corners contain objects donated by residents – which will also begin to reappear over the next 100 years as the corners of the rocks are worn away by weather and human use.

© Thierry Bal

Corners are multiplying in modern society.
Ever since we started to make artificial things in square, cornered shapes, the stress of city life has also started to make more corners inside ourselves as sharp points of the personality. Furthermore, we have been forcing nature to have sharp corners in order to fit them in square shaped urbanization. When landing in London, we can see that the land consists of mostly squares or sharp edges.

There is a Japanese phrase “角が取れる - Kado ga toreru” - literally translated as ‘sharp corners come off’ - which expresses when a person becomes softened by maturity. When ‘kado’ - usually means ‘corner’ but here it means a sharp point of one’s personality, rough edges of one’s character - come off, or be rounded off, it represents that one’s personality becomes gentle or mellow due to one’s life experience.

This expression could also represent the relationship between artificial things and nature. For example, when something get involved in a natural phenomenon, such as pieces of glasses on a beach, weathering of monuments or abandoned lands, they start to lose their sharp edges, corners and become mellow and atmospheric to harmonize with the surrounding natural environment.

It would suggest the possibility that if we make an effort and try to round off the corners of artificial things/ activities to mellow, our way of being in this world could become softened and more harmonized with the nature.
Instead of forcing or controlling, we should coexist with the nature, as well as with natural part inside human.

Folkestone has been the place for people to recover from stressed and polluted urban life. Taking a deep breath in front of the sea and walking in the town by our own foot would remind us of our nature side and would help our sharp corners to mellow.

And like Folkestone does, this work will suggest the audience to round off the corners of our artificial parts in many ways as a sort of a narrative and an actual experience. And their imagination which will float in between in turn may influence and ultimately change this cornered modern society to mellow.

Folkestone Triennial 2021
22. July - 2. November. 2021
Folkestone, Kent, UK

Special Thanks to;
Alan Bishop and Associates
Bridge Coffee House
Southcliffe Hotel
Museum Macura
Katrin Albrecht

Mellowing the Corners is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in UK

All content © Mariko Hori 2021