ArtSound Playground @ Temporary: artists and works
This spring's Sound Art Project course brought together a fantastic mix of students from different backgrounds and cultures. During a semester of discussions, preparations, and exercises, the students each worked toward a specific proejct they had in mind. The final culmination was a 2-day event held in Kallio's Temporary, a collaborative workspace-cum-experiment lab that houses everything from taxidermy workshops to language nights. Each day of the event was spent drinking coffee, chatting, fixing, and chatting some more with the fellow students, teachers, Temporary members, and even a couple of passersby that came out of sheer curiosity. The students' works both blended in and took over Temporary, and it was a pleasure to see an already ever-shifting space really become an ArtSound Playground for those two days.
Below are each student's works and artist statement.
Antti Suomalainen, Informaatiotulva (Flood of Information)
I am fascinated by my need to make sense of the world, particularly when my brain tries to make sense where there is none. Patterns in random algorithms, images in static noise...still, I sometimes miss the obvious when looking for complexity. Through my art, I aim to capture these fleeting moments of imagined discovery and make them concrete.
Informaatiotulva (Flood of Information) is an exploration of space, media, and meaning. Fragments of authoritative voices fill a space with conviction. The space undergoes visual and acoustic transformation when a stack of newspapers is crumpled into balls until the room fills with them. The meaning of the space changes from a cold authoritative exposition to a collective celebration of noise.
Antti Suomalainen (b. 1989) is a Finnish composer, sound artist, pianist, and music technologist. His artistic practice ranges from performance and live improvisation to sound installation, instrument building, and composition. He has studied Music Informatics at University of Sussex and is currently finalizing his master’s degree in Music Technology at the Sibelius-Academy. His recent works have been presented at Flow Festival and Tampere Biennale, as well as at other festivals and public spaces around Finland. Besides his artistic practice, his pursuit of knowledge has sparked an ongoing interest in the pedagogical possibilities of music technology.
Yung-Jen Chan, 嚆堡一號 (The Hao-Shi Fortress)
When people first look at The Hao-Shi Fortress, it seems like an ordinary half-opened suitcase on the floor. The suitcase is just near the sofa and the carpet, people can’t tell if it is an artwork or just some decoration in the space. There is a leash hanging from the ceiling, the handle is just at the height of a person standing in front of it. On the other end of the hanging leash is a glove: a red oven mitt with something in it. The audience can choose to pull the leash (or not). If they pull the leash, the glove will drop down and punch the suitcase, and the pressure of that punch will press the toys in the case, and making them produce a cute sound (“quiii!”). The punch also makes the suitcase emit a spray, which makes a small sound. People will smell the spray, both a good smell and a hot smell. A few seconds later (or maybe longer) and they may sneeze, cough, or feel uncomfortable. The name of the work came from “Hao-Shi(嚆矢)”, an ancient weapon from China, which means “ringing arrow” in Chinese. When they shoot these arrows, it will have a loud ring before it hits the target. The name is used the meaning of the relationship of the former sound and the later reaction, an attempt to link the symbols in the work. This is a semi-useless weapon. The purpose is not to harm people, but to make a silent attack and let them feel uncomfortable. This is an instrument. The audience pulls the leash to make the toy sounds, and make the suitcase press the spray to join the sounds by their own sneeze or cough. This is a also self-defense system—if you do something to it, it will fight back automatically. This is a cyclic system, just like a machine, humans, the environment, the society, the world. Everything happens for a reason.
The forms of Yung-Jen Chan’s work include sculpture, installation, photography, social projects, toys, lights, and sounds. If her work must be defined within a field, perhaps they fall between sculpture and installation. She uses different materials to build her sculptures, and uses the sculptures to make an installations. The materials she uses always have strong symbols to describe society or the relationships between humans. She combines different forms or objects and attempts to use these objects to compare and discuss the different relationships between selves, individuals, bodies, groups, society, and other elements from small to large.
Aoibhe Jessen, Dialogue
Contrasting movement with a foreign sound
Repetition finds difference and the static nature of a looped movement, a never-ending cycle of the same is altered to fluid
The control is left to the spectator, to decide what to see and what to hear
Finding variants in the same
Depicting body language as mechanical, concentrating on the parallels of the reflexive, machine-like movements whilst referring to the organic variants in each movement. Creaking bodies talking to each other, trees and metal creaking.
In filming and recording sound, I often come across conversations and contrasts. The poetry of spaces is defined by what inhabits the space and inhabitants negotiate their contexts. I work with the performative aspects of environment, and want to provide a window for architectural and earthly matter to speak unaltered. Collective conversations engaging all, using the muteness of plants and trees, the silent dominance of buildings, reflective body language to extend dialogue.
//When bricks are connected through legal ties, they spread in a fashion that is highly specific and that possesses its own solidity, even though the bricks come from all over the place. Same thing, when it’s the mode of connection of religion or politics or science that is used to relate heterogeneous building blocks.// Bruno Latour, A Plea for Earthly Sciences
Chia-Chen Chang, Untitled
We had dreams then:
Now deep into the night we drink,
In this work, I made two different box speakers. One is a material speaker made of wood, containing two glass cups. The other is an electronic speaker diffusing both live and recorded versions of the sound. Both of them try to apply the same sound with different sources in our daily life, representing our day-to-day tactile relationship by the two objects touching and crashing into each other. Also diffused are recordings my voice reading the poem above, made with a contact microphone in order to capture only the vibrations in my throat. Through this process, I try to demonstrate and confirm with sound how we once lived as time goes by.
Chia-Chen Chang was born in 1991 in Taiwan, and is currently working on her MFA from Taipei National University of the Arts. Chang mainly focuses on mixed media installations. Most of her recent works spring from her daily life experiences. Taking the self-language contained in life circumstances via the combination and installation of geometric architecture. Constantly pacing back and forth between oneself and the field like an avatar.
Chia-Chen's website can be found here.
Hugh Sheehan, Self-Portrait I
Self-Portrait I stems from my obsession with the individual (figurative) voice of a musician, their instrument, their history and their approach to musical situations. Vocals themselves can further embody a certain individuality, a particularly humane quality. The work is an enquiry into the understanding and capabilities of one’s own vocal mechanism; employing extended techniques and idiosyncratic processing; and furthermore, it is an exercise in presenting direct and abstracted visual parallels of sound.
I am enamoured with intricacy, imperfection and irregularity within sounds; and with the character, idiosyncrasies and inherent, habitual tendencies of their sources. My work places emphasis on, and facilitates discourse through, the magnification and examination of the internal characteristics of sound.
My working methods span the intersections of improvisation, prescribed process and writing. Works are generally created for and with specific artists, products of an exploratory collaboration process, with agency being a key aspect.
As an inter-media artist my research enquires as to how new instruments or custom technological processes can change our relationship with performance, improvisation, interactivity and installation.
Hemmo Siponen, Untitled
I experimented with sound with my self-made drums. In the exhibition there were recordings, as well as some of the drums that I used and a drumming robot making a soundscape in the space. The main thing for me was to experiment without a specific plan for results.
The idea came from the 'drummability' of stretched painting canvases, and the badly-drummable drums I made with them, which could also be seen as painting canvases in an art context. I am not a drum-maker and have no professional expertise in the instrument, so I have depended on my vague ideas about the concept of the drum. The idea of a drum for me in this process comes from the impression that I have had in my head about what a traditional drum could be. With that in mind, I made my own versions of drums, and drums as painting canvases.
One of the hybrids I came up with was a rectangular drum: A reindeer skin on a stretcher the size of a classical portrait painting canvas, which became a part of the drumming robot. The drumming robot was the rectangular drum hanging from its upmost part, repeatedly hit by a motorized wooden stick and making a acoustic beat in the space where it is located. The hanging drum moves a couple of centimeters back and forth as the stick repeatedly hits it, giving a slight variety in the tempo of the beat. The drumming robot became a kind of artificial musician, a pseudo-shamanistic machine in its electro-assisted trance.
For the recordings, I played my drum-like objects with drumming methods and in part replayed their sound with surface microphones attached to them. I used a spacious cylindrical, closed, empty metallic space to make the recordings to get a lot of echo and to transform the smallest sounds into bigger masses of sound.
Estelle Schorpp, OASIS (OÙ EST LA TERRE DES PROMESSES)
OASIS (OÙ EST LA TERRE DES PROMESSES) is an 8-channel electroacoustic piece. It has been played in different places, with different setups.
I composed it with recordings I made from different places.
A journey into abstract or evocative sound.
In Temporary, I made a sound and light installation.
A dark room with four speakers in a two meters square, and a light bulb in the center, almost touching the floor. A plexiglass square laying down reflects the light.This work is about mirages, in-between, borderlines. Porosity between reality, dreams, memories, imagination. A journey through abstract and evocative sounds.
«Once on the way, no adieu nor regrets, every day it becomes harder to turn back, and besides, there is no wish to return.»
Anne-Marie Schwarzenbach «Où est la terre des promesses?»
My work deals with field recording, electroacoustic composition, combined with site-specific sound installation, writing, and performance. Athough sound is the main material I choose to express my ideas/intuitions/sensations, I attempt to be as broad as possible, using different technical, aestetical, and conceptual approaches.
The starting point of my process deals with walking, mapping, orienting, and the listening and observation of my environment with a particular sensitivity to isolated and/or sacred places. Once have I reached these specific places, I record what I consider to be their voices: all kind of sounds with different potential, expressivity, textures, acoustic, and narrative aspects.
I look for the relationships between landscapes, soundscapes, histories, and myths. A sacred mountain in Lapland, a Nabataean city in the desert of Néguev, a celtic burial in Scotland, or the forest behind my house. Which stories do these places have to tell? How do they sound? Each place has its own soundscape and by carefully listening to it, I try to grasp and understand its story.
Jema Watling, Untitled
Sound Art Playground: 21st March. 4-speaker sound installation.
For Temporary I wanted to create a sound installation rather than just a conventional piece of 'sound art'. I wanted the audience to become the performers of the work; they should participate in the work to fully engage with the work. I wanted to create a new environment, re-rooming the space transporting the listener’s presence to another. I am fascinated by the physics of how we hear sound and my intention was to bring the same sense of wonder to my audience.
At age 74 my granddad was given hearing aids. At age 11, I remember holding them to my ears trying to listen through them. The world sounded so metallic, amplified ambience filled my head with no clear distinguishable sounds. The brain has such a fascinating ability to hone in on specific sounds it wants to pick out. Digitising that ability, sounds become a vast flat plain of noise. It takes time for the brain to re-adjust to its new unnatural way of hearing. My sound installation mimics this digital perspective, bringing the smallest hushes from the corners of the room straight to the listener’s ears in the centre. At times it is chaotic, you lose balance and personal place in the room, you become encased in a bubble observing the world around you. The experience should be that of contemplation. To listen, and take in the echoing new sounds, reimaging the mundanity of conversation in a room.
Currently a second year bachelor of arts student studying Fine Art at Northumbria University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. My work is an eclectic balance of lens-based medias, performance, craft, and language. My area of focus is with regards to identity and how we place ourselves in the digital world.