Cloudy with a chance of self

Artist Tom Mùller at Cathedral Square in Perth’s CBD.

IF you wander around Cathedral Square at a certain time of day, you might feel your time has come early as you are engulfed by billowing white clouds and ecclesiastical music.

Don’t worry, you’re not ascending to heaven or at a Spinal Tap concert, it’s all part of an atmospheric and slightly mystical art installation by Fremantle’s Tom Mùller.

He says Canon is an opportunity to take a break from the everyday and slip into four minutes of calm and reflection.

“You feel as if a giant cloud has been dropped on you, with the illusion of everything around you having vanished, bringing these heavenly, enchanting moments that connect you with a sense of self, place and history,” Mùller says.

“Cathedral Square is particularly rich in recent colonial history and also marks point zero, the marker from which all distances to Perth are measured, and represents the centre point and civic heart of the city. 

“I am particularly drawn to the notion of what is considered the ‘centre’ of a place. By plunging the square into a sea of fog I am inviting the audience to be transported back through time where this idea of place is more of a felt experience and less of an absolute.”

Adding to the atmosphere are the angelic voices of the St Georges Cathedral Choir, who performed a new score specifically written for Canon.  

Starting with a single voice, the choir builds to a spiritual crescendo as the clouds swirl around Cathedral Square.

“I was fortunate to connect with one of the singers with whom I had worked with previously, Bonnie de la Hunty,” Mùller says.

“She composed the final score for the sound work which was then performed and recorded by an octet of the cathedral choir under the direction of Dr Joseph Nolan.

“I believe that in order for artworks to bring about change and enable reflection, collaboration is essential and this approach also gives collective ownership of a place, especially if it is in response to a particular place.”

A multi-disciplinary artist, Mùller is no stranger to major art installations and is known for his use of giant fog machines in historical places, blurring the line between past and present.

Recently he used massive clouds of steam and fog to replicate a locomotive steam train at the Carriageworks in Sydney, whisking the arts precinct back to its former use as the Eveleigh Railway Workshops.

“Ghost Line was a temporal and poetic haunting of the past by suspending mist momentarily in time and space,” he says.

“At once a faked natural phenomena and theatrical staging, it prompted remembrance and imagination through a fleeting, and possibly bewildering, lapse of vision.”

Canon is at Cathedral Square every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from February 18 to March 12, with sessions starting at 12pm, 1pm, 5pm and 6pm.

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