Sound based art
21 Jun – 4 Aug 2013
Atle S. Nielsen, Christian Blom, Signe Lidén, Jana Winderen, Tore Honoré Bøe, Cecilia Jonsson and Kristoffer Myskja.
Akershus Art Centre has the pleasure of featuring work by Atle S. Nielsen, Christian Blom, Signe Lidén, Jana Winderen, Tore Honoré Bøe, Cecilia Jonsson, and Kristoffer Myskja.
The exhibition has been curated by Jørgen Larssen from Lydgalleriet in Bergen [The Sound Gallery], and co-curated by Tor Arne Samuelsen at Akershus Art Centre.
NOR13 takes the pulse of kinetic and sound based art in Norway today, and is Lydgalleriet´s first exhibition with a focus on Norwegian work since 2009, hence the name. The exhibition presents several artists who have in common that they deal with recycled media, such as found objects and left over materials, in their sculptural sound installations. Of note are Atle S. Nielsen, Cecilia Jonsson, Christian Blom, Tore Honoré Bøe, Signe Lidén, and Kristoffer Myskja. Nature’s own soundscape is also subject to exploration in pieces like Jana Winderen’s project Silent Field. These artists also share a fascination for sound and soundscapes, which have been reworked in various ways — analogically, mechanically, or digitally, though this doesn’t seem to be a goal in itself.
Atle S. Nielsen: Lümpff Tümpff Trl
The installation Lümpff Tümpff Trl was made as a tribute to Kurt Schwitters. Three looped tapes contain a variety of phrases from his Ursonate, and these are interpreted through the installation’s actions. Three artificial lungs/bellows control motion and playback in a thoroughly analogue fashion. The installation has been put together from an assortment of materials, among them cassette players, handball inner tubes, plastic spoons, and a mix of electronic components.
Atle Selnes Nielsen (b. 1978) works with materials that recall traditional crafts, industrialisation, analogue technology, and classic invention. He studied at the Bergen Academy of the Arts and the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts. Previously, Selnes Nielsen has held solo exhibitions at — amongst others — the Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art and the Møre og Romsdal Art Centre, and will, in 2014, show work at Kunstnerforbundet [the Artists’ Assocation] in Oslo. Select group exhibitions include Kinetica Art Fair 2012, London, and the Norwegian Sculpture Biennial 2011 at Olso’s Vigeland Museum.
Christian Blom: Al Khowarizmi’s Mechanical Orchestra
Al Khowarizmi’s Mechanical Orchestra is a sculpture, a small orchestra, and at its core is a small assembly project of instruments built of steel wire, bells, strings, and pipe. Every time the public presses a button, an algorithm full of aleatorics is unleashed, which like a thousand rolls of the dice, determines the notes played. The algorithm creates unique music and performs it using Al Khowarizmi’s Mechanical Orchestra. Sometimes the music comes out rather pleasing, at other times it falls down. Yet, it is unique every time, and never heard again.
Christian Blom (b. 1974) works with Chinese sculpture, mechanical units, and musical composition. Blom has a formal background as a guitar player and composer, with a graduate degree in musical composition from the University of Bergen. As a member of the art company Verdensteateret [the World Theatre] (2004–2010), and through his own projects, Blom’s work is seen and heard regularly around the world.
Signe Lidén: Ettermælet [Posthumous Reputation]
Ettermælet shows a dark wall that slants inward, into the exhibition space, with an opening to the room behind the wall. There, one may see a concrete block with a sewing machine and a metal box sticking out halfway. The sound of a slowly accelerating machine fills the room and when the sewing machine’s needle, threaded from an electric spool, slowly approaches the metal box, the box resounds thunderously. Jutting out of the concrete block is a tube one can put an ear against and hear a filtered version of the machine and the box, while the sounds are amplified by dark, looming wall.
Signe Lidén (b. 1981) works with sound installations and site-specific performances. Her work is often an auditory examination of the history, function, and memory of human geography. Lidén has a master’s degree in Fine Art from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design and the Nordic Sound Art joint master’s programme, and has been very active in recent years, displaying work at home and abroad, including Germany, Italy, Denmark, and Belgium. At present, she is working as a research assistant for Re:place at Bergen Academy, and in 2013, she is one of the artists in the residency programme Resonance — European Sound Art Network.
Jana Winderen: Silent Field
Jana Winderen works with hydrophone recordings from rivers, lakes, the oceans of Asia, Europe, and America, and from the glaciers of Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. Many of the recordings are from great depths, at sound frequencies inaudible to humans. These underwater soundscapes, in both fresh and sea water, have evolved over millions of years. Fish, crustaceans, insects, and mammals have all evolved distinctive and finely tuned ways of detecting and producing sound. That is the material Winderen uses when crafting her compositions. For Silent Field, she uses sounds from underwater insects from the water boatman-family [Notonectidae], which are the loudest animals in relation to their body size of all animals, and from bats’ echolocation screeches. Winderen is fascinated by how these creatures hear, rather than see, objects.
Some of the sounds in the installation will form part of the 16 channel Ambisonic sound installation Ultrafield, a piece commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, for their exhibition Soundings: A Contemporary Score, which will be shown in this autumn at MoMA.
Jana Winderen (b. 1965) read Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College, London, and also studied at the faculty of Science and Mathematics, at the University of Oslo. Since 1992, she has created sound installations and films, and released CDs, vinyl albums, USB sticks, and cassette tapes. Her most recent commissions have been Ultrafield for MoMA, 2013, Silencing the Reefs for Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Austria, ultraworld for Sound and Music, UK, a sound installation in Trafalgar Square in London, 2012, and a piece for the Guggenheim Museum and the Unsound festival in New York. In 2011, Jana won the ‘Golden Nica’ or Prix Ars Electronica (awarded by Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria), for her album Energy Field, released by Touch, UK.
Tore Honoré Bøe: Akustisk laptop [Acoustic Laptop]
During the last ten years, Tore Honoré Bøe has produced a large number of his “acoustic laptops”: small, wooden boxes decorated with minor odds and ends that make a noise (paper clips, hair pins, needles, and so on). The boxes’ material works like a sound cavity, and sound is amplified through the use of one or more contact microphones. Viewers are invited to play them by poking, rubbing, knocking, and pulling on the different objects in the boxes. Their D-I-Y aesthetic makes for easy audience interaction. Familiar objects are given new meaning by their sonic attributes, which we cannot normally hear. Bøe also plays concerts with his laptops, and also organises workshops. The boxes can be seen as ‘found object collages’, known from the Dada and Fluxus movement, but David Tudor’s ‘Tudor Boxes’ and Michael Waisvisz’ ‘Kraakdoos’ [‘Crackle Box’] are equally important points of reference, a tradition of which is carried on in the ‘circuit bending’ and D-I-Y instrumental art of today.
Tore Honoré Bøe (b. 1969) is a Norwegian transmedia artist who lives and works in the Canary Islands. In the last twenty years, he has played hundreds of concerts, organised workshops, published books, and released an enormous number of recordings. His exhibitions, purchases, presentations, and workshops include the Lux Centre for the Arts, Lincoln, Freies Museum, Berlin, Avant Garde Festival, Schiphorst, Only Connect, Oslo, EKKO festival, Bergen, Music Tech Fest, London, and as a supporting act for Einstürzende Neubauten on various tours.
Cecilia Jonsson: The Original Arrangment Was for a Solo Violin and String Orchestra
Through her art, Cecilia Jonsson examines the field of greys between living and dead matter, apparently two binary opposites. Her work is often an artistic interpretation of empirical research, inspired by scientific research methods, where pieces are rendered as intricately constructed biological systems through audio-visual and spatial exploration. Water and iron occupy central roles, symbolically representing and addressing an imaginary gap between nature and technology, environmental issues and social culture.
In The Original Arrangment Was for a Solo Violin and String Orchesta, a layer of grass Imperata Cylindrica, has been allowed to grow on the iron filed from a reel-to-reel tape of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons: African blady grass that gives vivid dreams, with added nettle to preserve the memory of the grass. The installation provides a chance to observe the grass’ growth and to hear its interpretation of the music. The method used in the project is an interpretation of the vegetative process Phytomining, a technique wherein specific types of plant are used to cleanse and rehabilitate contaminated or mineral rich earth of toxic elements, in order to recover biological ore from the plants for new use.
Cecilia Jonsson (b. 1980, Stockholm) lives in Bergen, Norway. She holds a degree from the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (2012) and Nordic Sound Art, a cooperation programme between art academies in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. She has previously held a solo exhibition at Gallery Fisk, Bergen, and will, in 2013, be showing work at Tag Team Studio, also in Bergen. Group exhibitions she has participated in include Prøverommet Knipsu, Bergen, LAK – Festival for Nordic Sound Art, Copenhagen, and Between the Four F – Block Party, UWE, Bristol, UK.
Kristoffer Myskja: Konspirerende Maskin [Conspiring Machine]
Conspiring Machine works like almost like a music box: a studded cylinder that plays various melodies. But, in contrast to the music box, Myskja’s machine activates short recordings stored on a microchip. The sculpture generates a language by quickly playing syllables one after another. The chosen syllables represent the most commonly occurring consonant-vowel combinations in most human languages. The idea is that these syllables might form the basis of a neutral, almost archaic language, without idiosyncrasies. It sounds like a language, but its words and meanings are incomprehensible. Two voices speak to each other in the same neutral language, almost as if they were having a conversation they didn’t want anyone else to understand.
Kristoffer Myskja (b. 1985) studied at the Trondheim and Oslo Academies of Art. Myskja has held solo exhibitions at, amongst others, Galerie Mario Mazzoli, Berlin, 2013, Galleri K, Oslo 2012, and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2011. Selected group exhibitions include Game of Life, Kristiansand Art Hall, I Walk the Line at the ULTIMA Festival, Oslo, and META.MORF 2010 – Brave.New.World!, Gråmølna, Trondheim.