Sarva Mangalam!
Tim Howle, Nick Cope - 2018

Previous iterations of this work have been called Flags, (1, 2 and 3) and as more layers of material have been added we have resisted forward propulsion. There is no real goal orientation and the material can be described as ambient. This fourth incarnation of the work builds on a single monitor work originally presented at a festival celebrating the work of Cornelius Cardew featuring a single shot of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags filmed on a hillside at Ganden Monastery, near Lhasa, Tibet. A second version of the work introduced another shot juxtaposed with the first from prayer flags shot by Namtso Lake, Tibet; additional sounds have been introduced that attempt limited levels of intervention that chime with the images. The exploitation of the inherent musicality of the images emphasises timelessness and continuity through a quasi-improvisational approach, mirroring and counterpointing objects in the image. Limited indeterminate relationship of the layers of musical material allows for shifts with regard to each other, resulting in harmonious, open and gestural relationships regardless of juxtaposition. Sounds are selected from a similarly limited palette; the approach is free within prescribed limits. The research aim is to augment the ‘electroacoustic movie’ with the inclusion of Eno and Cardew in influences, to balance the fixed with the variable.

The title of the work is a Sanskrit phrase, which appears on many versions of prayer flags alongside depictions of various symbolic animals, Buddhist deities and mantras. Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras are blown on the wind, spreading goodwill and compassion to the pervading space and all beings wandering therein.