THE ANIMAL EMPIRE – YOU ARE NOT INVITED (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2019)

Animal Empire” is an ongoing performance research project by Danish artists, dancers and choreographers Linh Le and Peter Vadim, in which they investigate the social and political context and consequences of the use of animal metaphors (mostly negative ones such as “pest”) in order to portray specific minority groups in contemporary societies.

Having being invited as moderator to the performance series taking place at Bådteatret, I also composed a podcast manifestation of the project, including an original soundscape and samples of the discussions taking place between the invited guests and the audience, after each performance.

Photo credit: Sebastian Neerup Mandel

STRUER TRACKS: REALITY-BASED MULTI-CHANNEL PERFORMANCE (Struer, Denmark, 2019)

Collective and co-created multi-channel performance, together with sound artists: Espen Sommer Eide, Yngvild Færøy, Siri Austeen, Alexander Rishaug, Halla Steinunn Stefánsdottir and Rune Søchting.

A final edit is in progress, below you can hear my individual participation in the piece.

From Struer Tracks Festival 2019: “The performance was the culmination of 5 days workshop at Sound Art Lab in Struer where the 7 artists based in Nordic countries worked experimentally with sound recordings in the landscapes around Struer. The material generated at site visits was be the basis of a collective improvised performance using 10 speakers and filling a full room, where listeners may move freely during the performance.

The focus of the workshop was the investigation of changes in the physical landscape due to development of new forms of energy. Using sound recordings in different ways and mixing documentary and anthropological approaches, the group explores the potentials of the sound recording to create new understandings of the real and to open up new connections between fiction and fact.

The workshop was realised in collaboration between BEK Bergen Center for Electronic Art and Struer Tracks Urban Sound Art Festival. It was supported by Nordic Culture Point and Dansh Arts Foundation.”

HETEROPHONICS (Vilnius, Lithuania, 2019)

Heterophonics was a lecture-performance and sound installation for two FM radios and short-distance radio emitters presented at the Departures, Deviations and Elsewheres Artistic Research Symposium, at the European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania, in March 2019.

Heterophonics – radio as an intersection of displacement and site-specificity

As a young child, even before having my own room in my parent’s home, I was struck by how the experience of listening to radio was radically defined by in-between-ness, and activated by an intense and slightly disorienting curiosity towards otherness, all while powerfully intersecting displacement and site-specificity. Moreover, a battery-operated FM/AM pocket radio with a wire antenna (the kind I had), if paired with headphones, can provide a magical blanket of privacy in relation to one’s immediate surroundings, while providing access to farther worlds of sonic imagination.

Of course, at the time these were not the words I had available to formulate my experience. What I was was fascinated by how voices and music from the beyond could come and reach my ears, as I lay under the (no-longer metaphorical) blankets in early nightfall, just before drifting into sleep. And without wires! The world was much less wireless back then.

Most fascinating for me, was the foreign radio coming from beyond the borders. Even beyond the exoticism of unfamiliar vocal geographies, the very act of tuning manually – meaning, traversing the static noise between station frequencies – provides access to a transitive soundscape of glitched/cacophonic heterotopia, stimulated by a phenomenology of expectation.

Heterophonics is a lecture-performance on the multiple and often incongruous overlapping of imaginary geographies that listening to radio provides. It also deals with how the located body – the listener, wherever she is to be found – is a fully active participant in this heterotopian space, and some notes on the phenomenology and politics of inhabiting it. In sum, this lecture explores traditional radio as a portable heterotopian grid/access point, as well as its nuanced variations in our present age of constant (dis)connectivity.

DUST: ENCOUNTERING THE HYPEROBJECT (Malmö, Sweden, 2017)

 
 
DUST – Pilot Episode: Encountering the Hyperobject
Six sonic explorations of human enmeshment in an expanded ecology
 

How can we humans of the Anthropocene learn to understand the interdependence of our and other life forms and bio-/geological systems across deep time and space?

Encountering the Hyperobject is an ongoing sound composition/radio podcast series that connects social science, artistic research, sound art, and ecologies through the geo-philosophical concept of hyperobjects; “things that are massively distributed in time and space relative to humans” (Morton, 2013) while both affecting and affected by the lives we live in the present. Hyperobjects can be anything from global warming, to nuclear materials or plastic bags. 

The project takes up Morton’s call for humans to “upgrade [our] ontological tools” and tries to attune its audiences to vital hyperobjects via a sonic language that mixes narrative, field-recordings, ambience, dialogue, music and interviews. Each of the planned six episodes engages and researches a specific hyperobject across Nordic and Arctic landscapes and localities. 

The first episode, DUST, is under development and a work-in-progress version was presented at Inter Arts Center Malmö as a live lecture-performance and immersive sound-installation in December 2017. The performance was followed by an open discussion, the whole event lasting circa 60 minutes. Encountering the Hyperobject is a collaboration between social scientist and artistic researcher Christina Berg Johansen (DK) and sound artist and artistic researcher Eduardo Abrantes (PT/SE).

 

 

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)

CHRONOS FOR KAIROS (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017)

Preparatory resonant sketch for The Here And Now – the continuation of a poetic self to be manifested collectively as teaching staff of the upcoming immersive performative project Sisters Academy – Boarding School at Den Frie Udstillingsbygning (København, DK) in the fall of 2017.

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40 beats per minute is a common enough heart rate when asleep. A little low but still normal, especially for a trained though exhausted body. The living heart is in constant motion, not exactly translating and rotating like a planet does, but close enough. This measure can be measured as a rhythmic repetition in sequential time. 

The ancient Greeks had two names for time. Chronos refers to measurable time, from past to future, the numbering of the days, a line, a sequence. Kairos refers to the instant, the moment of opportunity where action ignites consequence and change happens. If that moment is seized. If not, it belongs to chronos, the cannibal. 

Kairos also refers to the moment in archery when the tension of the bow achieves the maximum and the arrow is released. Or in weaving, when the wooden shuttle passes between the threads tied taut in the loom.

The Here And Now is of kairos but entangled in chronos. Aren’t we all?

WHITE CIRRUS – TUNGEDREVET #1 (Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017)

Titled in a oblique reference to a “genus of atmospheric cloud generally characterized by thin, wispy strands, giving the type its name from the Latin word cirrus, meaning a ringlet or curling lock of hair” (quote retrieved from the never unreliable Wiki), this piece is the first of a collection of compositions built upon live voice processing and manipulation. It might also seek inspiration from a meteor fragment framed on the wall – a white cirrus navigator of sorts, cutting a cooling burning trail across the sky under which we happen to live through our days.
Few things expose one more intensely to scrutiny and self-awareness than opening one’s mouth. Speaking in public, speaking to oneself, doubting one’s sanity or singing in the shower, our voice (if we have it) is the truest multi-tool. In the worlds of sound, voice is a borderless kingdom of vast property – it is also the only instrument that can die. White Cirrus is part of Tungedrevet (“Tongue-driven”) a series of compositions where the mouth pushes the sound waves into an processing array, sometimes loosing its recognizability altogether. Onto the listener, the one who lingers on the other side, it emerges as a metamorphic presence. Hopefully.

(photo credit: Eduardo Abrantes)

THE HERE AND NOW AGAIN (Reykjavík, Iceland, 2016)

An immersive performance collaborative experiment, investigating strategies for sensuous embodiment in artistic and pedagogical processes. The Here And Now Again was the continuation of my poetic self manifestation, in a continued artistic research engagement with the Sisters Academy, this time an takeover intervention taking place at the Reykjavík School of Visual Arts, during a two week period in October 2016. Apart from co-authoring the transformation of the space, my participation consisted of a series of one-to-one performative encounters with students and staff, exploring improvised compositional techniques, rhythm pattern awareness, and shared sensorial expansion.

(photo credit: Eduardo Abrantes)

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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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