FROM EAR TO HAND – MAKING SOUND-WORLDS (Several locations, Faroe Islands, 2019)

FROM EAR TO HAND – MAKING SOUND-WORLDS (Several locations, Faroe Islands, 2019)

From Ear to Hand is a workshop that explores children’s natural story-telling instincts, curiosity and the knowledge of their surrounding landscape to create sound narratives using everyday objects. They will be invited to do so using so-called foley techniques, where everyday materials are explored for their sonic properties: gloves can become flapping wings, finger-tapping a heavy rainfall, or a balloon a squeaky door hinge.

The focus of the workshop is to engage with the children’s knowledge and awareness of the sounds present in their everyday lives, while being open to imagined places and spaces.

The workshop took place in 4 different schools, one week per school, with children 5-10 years old. The final outcome of the different sound exploration exercises were different soundtracks created and performed by the children, for short clips from two of Japanese filmmaker Miyazaki’s animation classics. Examples below:

This project was made in the context of the Listaleypurin artistic residency and exchange program, and with generous support from local partners.

OPKALD OG SVAR (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017)

OPKALD OG SVAR (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017)

 

Ofte, både i min egen lydkunst og i andre kunstneres, mærker jeg lyde som håndgribelige bevægelser i rummet. En af de mest bemærkelsesværdige, mystiske og alligevel almindelige af disse, skal jeg nævne opkald og svar.
Når du siger ”hej” til nogen, du kender, og de svarer tilbage. Når to skibe blæser deres tågehorn, mens de sejler nær. Når alarmen på en mikrobølgeovn bringer dig tilbage til køkkenet, og dine skyndte trin stepper på gulvbrættet. I musikalsk kontrapunkt. Overalt i naturen under parringssæson.
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Often, both in my own sound work and other artists’, i experience sound as tangible movement in space. One of the most common yet mystifying categories of this movement is “call and response”.
When you say “hello” to someone, and they answer back. When two ships blow their foghorns while passing close. When a microwave alarm brings you back to the kitchen, your steps resounding on the wood floor. In musical counterpoint. Everywhere in nature under breeding season.

Appropriately to its title, Opkald og svar (“Call and response”) was inspired by an invitation to participate in an Æstetisk Salon session, themed “Interaktion – Reaktion”, an artistic research sharing/presentation/dialogue platform created and curated by Camille Roth and Linh Le. Opkald og svar was presented as both a two channel stereo field sound composition and a co-created collective performance, taking place at private apartment situated in Nørrebro, Copenhagen, on October 2017. In its performative phase, the public was invited to divide in two groups, the first venturing out and exploring the acoustic space of the private home by find a call-sound to respond to. The second group would, after a few minutes, also venture out and try to individually position itself in relation to the mid-points of call and response defined by the individual members of the first group, adding their own intermediate sound to the ongoing play. The result was a playful collaborative exercise in sound exploration, active listening, and performative engagement. 

(Photo credit: Eduardo Abrantes, Copenhagen 2017)

HORN ERU BEYGJUR / CORNERS ARE CURVES (that is why we walk into them) (Ísafjörður, Iceland, 2017)

HORN ERU BEYGJUR / CORNERS ARE CURVES (that is why we walk into them) (Ísafjörður, Iceland, 2017)

My month-long residency at ArtsIceland in Ísafjörður, during February 2017, manifested as a series of inspiring sonic encounters. Between the surrounding landscape – both monumental and fluid – and its people, I was allowed to weave my own life rhythms, being guided, welcomed, playfully challenged, and above all, engaged and engaging with full curiosity.

HORN ERU BEYGJUR / CORNERS ARE CURVES is a surround installation/sound composition that knits together some of these sonic encounters. It is composed of manipulated field recordings taken in different environments in Ísafjörður, both private and public spaces, including that strangely simultaneously public and intensely private space, the acoustic of the fjord landscape itself.

The sound collecting and composition process was guided by the awareness of the site-specific acoustic properties of the area, together with intense dialogue and shared experiences with some of the local inhabitants. It was presented as a live mixed quadraphonic (4 channel surround) sound installation at Edinborgarhúsið Cultural Centre, followed by a group walk and an improvised choral encounter at Gallery Outvert.

The title refers to the geography of the fjords, its corners turning into curves, its play of seemingly both challenging and inviting navigation – hard on the body and freeing in the soul. It refers also to my own shared internal landscape as a human, how past and present struggles strengthen conviction, how life and wonder shun straight lines.

This residency was made possible by financial support from the following institutions:

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TIL VANDKANTEN (Fanø, Denmark, 2016)

Til Vandkanten is a short audio-visual piece filmed at a beach stretch (Høne) in the south of the Fanø island, Denmark, in July 2016. From a fixed panoramic perspective, a group of performers/artists  – Maj Horn, Annette Skov, Carola Skov Hilby, Karla Skov Petersen, Malakias Liebmann, Stine Nielsen, and Simon Voigt – walks towards the edge of the water line to meet the horizon and then return. Their bodies, moving in a diagonal across the landscape, play with the notions of relatable scale, unreachable lines of reference, and embodiment of the landscape.

Til Vandkanten was both documentation and an artistic research experiment, produced in the context of Laboratorium for Vadehavets Ånd (Laboratorium for the Wadden Sea spirit), a project by Danish artist Maj Horn (DK), which consisted in a year of research about the spirit and atmosphere of the Wadden Sea, culminating in a research / exhibition platform at the ship Rebekka

It featured artistic contributions by artists Annette Skov (DK), Hartmut Stockter (DE/DK), Malakias Liebmann (DK), Peter Vadim (DK), Stine Nielsen (DK), philosopher Carsten Friberg (DK) and the musicians Simon Voigt (DE/DK), Stine Benjaminsen (DK) and Henriette Løvdal (DK).

HEAVEN : HAVEN : HAVN (Læsø, Denmark, 2016)

1. heaven : haven : havn – introduction as afterthought 

In Læsø, a small island of less than 2000 inhabitants off the northeast coast of the Jutland Peninsula, in Denmark, I was told that some stones have their own names. As an afterthought, that detail sparked the play between body, perspective and landscape in heaven : haven : havn.

heaven : haven : havn (previously known by the working title “salt of the earth / salt of the sea”) was the result from an invitation to do a collaborative artistic residency aiming towards a site specific intervention. The invitation came initially from Jon Eirik Lundberg, director of the Læsø Kunsthal (established in 2012), via Eja Rhea Due and Camilla Calundann, respectively director/performer and scenographer/visual artist of the Copenhagen-based collective Teater Bæst.

After a previous shorter trip in February, for two weeks in May 2016, me, Eja, and Camilla, stayed in Læsø and researched the different strands of inspiration that the island afforded, while exploring how best to bring our individual practices and strategies to combine into a coherent artistic intervention.

Our collective process developed across three intermingling levels. These three levels followed three main elements of site specificity as immersive practice: the local landscape, the life rhythms and the social fabric of the inhabitants, the awareness of the implications of our own presence as short-term nomadic visitors with an aesthetic agenda.

2. Site specificity as an exercise in self-awareness, and heaven : haven : havn as an outcome

A short note about these three levels of site specificity.

Læsø’s landscape is dominated by flatness and by the slow shifting texture of the ground below the horizon. From the thick forest areas, to the hybrid farm lands, from the pelt like smoothness of the low coastal vegetation, to the sandy beaches sprinkled with white sun-bleached shells and bird bone fragments, to the low pulse of the tide changing green to blue according to the depth – it is a landscape to be experienced underfoot and above eye level, an horizontal reach with a panoramic sensibility.

With so much space and such a sparse population, people tend either to be very close together, or far apart. The life rhythms of the fishing folk, for example those we shortly met at the “Universitet”, a fishermen’s shack converted into a temporary hangout for storytelling and drinking, are marked by a deliberate slowness at land. Carlsens Hotel, at Vesterø, close to where the ferry docks, is another hub of slow burning conversation and raspy voices surrounded by a halo of boredom. Freedom and boredom, the prize and the sacrifice, seem to deeply mark Læsø’s life rhythms.

Also the scope of individuals and their dreams, like those of “Amerikaner Pete”, a well established farmer dreaming of building a Læsø mythology theme park in his land, an island within the island. Or the calm assurance and reticent perspective of the single policeman of the island, navigating a discreet mental map of neighbours and their natural frictions, or of outsiders and their occasionally dubious intentions.

One of the most inspiring elements: the ferry between Fredrikshavn and Læsø, part geographical extension of the island’s territory, part social network – with its shuttle pulse mimicking almost something like the inhaling/exhaling flow of life into and off the island.

The third level, us, our own engagement with the island by walking, running, gathering materials, recording sounds and taking photos, building up our own mind-maps, our own temporary territories. Trying to participate as active listeners in the storytelling rituals of the island’s inhabitants. Also, struggling with the specific languages of our practices, sometimes their incommunicability, sometimes their apparent consonance, even more surprising. The friction between our own expectations and ambitions, between the kinds of access we projected into our stay in the island, and the access we actually had to built, or sometimes to find, by sheer accident.

Out of this complex dynamics of artistic research, heaven : haven : havn manifested – as a temporary audio-visual installation at the Læsø Kunsthal, in a room where a model/texture map of the island’s materials was also crafted.

As a video art piece, heaven : haven : havn connected different levels of reality. The subtle exploration of the landscape by the presence of the body; the reference to the mythologically charged identity of the island, where ancient stones appear as worthy of having a name; and the focus on a manipulated horizon inspired by the radical flatness of the island, where the underfoot is brought closer to eye level.

The soundscape of heaven : haven : havn was composed mostly of binaural recordings taken during the ferry trip between Fredrikshavn and Læsø. In a exercise in acoustic embodiment, I walked deliberately on the empty upper deck, drawn by the lull of the sea, its contrast with the intense volume of the pitched frequencies of the exhaust grids, and together with the low rumbling of the ferry’s motors a few levels below. Also part of the soundscape was a discreet electronic improvised composition, produced exactly in the context of the long hours of freedom and boredom provided by Læsø’s sparse and meditative environment. (Some of the other sound compositions done while at the island were brought together in a piece called Spiritual Soliciting, which can be found here as 7# in the “Some Days Series” or listened to individually here.)

3. Læsø : view into a process

This project and artistic residency were made possible by a grant from the Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture attributed by the  Nordic Culture Point / Nordic Council of Ministers.

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THE HERE AND NOW (Malmö, Sweden, 2015)

THE HERE AND NOW (Malmö, Sweden, 2015)

Sound performance and series of artistic research workshops developed during an immersive one week residency at the Boarding School / Sisters Academy project by the Sisters Hope (DK/SE) artist collective. During a strictly ritualized close cohabitation period, living at the Inkonst (SE) art space, an old chocolate factory in the center of Malmö, The Here and Now is an experiment in the transformation of everyday rhythms and practices, while heightening performative awareness of oneself through the emergence of a “poetic self”. It deals, in sonic and performative terms, with intersubjective borders, territories and their permeability through conflict and vulnerability.

SOUNDSITE/LISTENINGSCAPE CORRESPONDENCE (Druskininkai, Lithuania – Stockholm, Sweden – Basel, Switzerland, 2015)

SOUNDSITE/LISTENINGSCAPE CORRESPONDENCE (Druskininkai, Lithuania – Stockholm, Sweden – Basel, Switzerland, 2015)

A collaboration with artist, researcher and performer Christina Burkolter (CH, DK) which was presented as a site-specific sound performance in Druskininkai, Lithuania, during the NSU Summer Session in July 2015. Soundsite/Listeningscape Correspondence is an ongoing project that started as an exchange of sonic sketches between myself, living in Stockholm, Sweden, and Christina, based in Basel, Switzerland, and it evolved into an embodied dialogue of site-specific exploration of the notions of togetherness and permeability through the use of sound. Soundsite/Listeningscape Correspondence was performed before a live audience in a hybrid format, including both pre-recorded sound pieces and live voice manipulation. It was framed as a sonic exploration of the mutual engagement essential to a nomadic artistic research community, and also as an embodied inquiry into performative practices of co-authorship and collaborative research.

SING-A-LONGING (Mooste/Tartu/Tallinn, Estonia 2015)

SING-A-LONGING (Mooste/Tartu/Tallinn, Estonia 2015)

Performative sound piece composed from a local choir recording at Mooste and vocal fragments collected from passersby in the streets of Tartu, Estonia, between 16-26 March 2015. Performed at the Crossing Contexts NSU Winter Session at Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn, Estonia. Sing-a-longing was inspired by a radical notion of “site specific” engagement, as the intimate sound field available in direct memory recall, and by the role of choral singing in Estonia’s recent political history, namely the series of events known as the “Singing Revolution”, taking place between 1987-1991, the period leading to the independence of the Baltic states.

SILENT DINNER SOUNDSCAPE (Mooste/Tallinn, Estonia 2015)

SILENT DINNER SOUNDSCAPE (Mooste/Tallinn, Estonia 2015)

Soundscape composed from field recordings taken between 16-26 March 2015 around Mooste, Estonia, during a residency stay at MoKS, for a collaborative performative silent dinner taking place at Kanuti Gildi SAAL (Tallinn, Estonia) organized by artist/researcher Luisa Greenfield (US/DE) and philosopher/artistic researcher Sebastian Dieterich (DE/CH), with the participation of artist/researcher Christina Burkolter (DK/CH). This performance operated as a ritualistic sensorial immersion, in the context of a nomadic community of artistic researchers and practitioners, bringing an embodied experience of the outer space (sounds collected from walks through the forest around Mooste) into an intimate location where the basic needs of the performing, living body are met – both the needs manifest as hunger and exhaustion, the need for privacy in an intense exchange environment, and the need for the partial release of the self as ego after prolonged exposure to a shared space of intense identification between work and artist. The meal was prepared, using local resources and a DIY ethics, by the Berlin based nomadic artist ensemble NoWhere Kitchen (Pepe Dayaw and Ayumi Saito).