News Dec 16 2013
Long time coming for some new stuff. Now you can read the new text work "100 Universal Statements about your Personal Value, or The Perfect Artist."
Coming soon, not one but TWO new albums of sound, both recorded during my one-week residency at Not Quite in Dalsland, Sweden. I am currently mixing the tracks down and will hopefully have something before the new year.
At Not Quite between Dec. 3 and 8th I worked with a great group of artists to put on a one-day event called "Knycklabruket" in the old paper factory, a guided tour through several artworks. I contributed by taking over the steam engine room, filling it with light, smoke, and drone. Pictures and sound soon.
I forgot to post my contribution to the great Forage Press earlier this year, a series of small drawings and writing around the theme of drone - check that out.
This past summer I taught another course with Eric Saline on the topic of Art & Publishing - click the link to see the blog documenting the class and the student's work. It was a great experience ending in a very successful exhibition.
This is a text project that may branch itself out into other manifestations. But now that I am done the final draft of the text, I thought it would be worth sharing as the discussion around these topics is quite active right now.
Like a student drilled and assessed only on a checklist of metrics, starved of real experience, knowledge, and self-growth, the role of the artist today is in a similar kind of bind—be creative individuals, but within the rules.
Artists, and people more generally, are trapped within a narrow definition of freedom and creativity, a mockery of human ingenuity used solely to provide market gains or to support the status quo with vague assertions of its own virtue. "Creative" is now a word associated more with a glorified advertising worker than for an independent artist. Likewise, an artist should now be seen as a precarious "entrepreneur" competing in a cut-throat capitalist market of scarcity.
This situation deprives society of the real value artists provide to reveal alternative realities. In this text I satirically, and hopefully humorously, enumerate some of the rules as I perceive them, a suffocating and impossible to fulfill parade of responsibilities—some reasonable and some not—burdened entirely on the individual.
While the art world makes grand claims of having a cutting-edge, critical, and progressive nature, in most cases one must be a very particular kind of person to truly succeed in it. I've made no direct comments in the text about race, class, gender, disability, sexuality, or social privilege, but these questions can be considered implicit in many of the statements by their exclusivity.
The artist's role in society is complex, and is not well served by attempting to fit art practice into the demands of the status quo. In so doing we are left with weak art and artists who are unable to adequately adapt after being turfed out from the market when their usefulness to a fickle power structure runs dry. Truly independent art should operate outside the status quo, directly challenging its inequalities, celebrity worship, and narrow utilitarianism, rejecting complicity in its idea of what art and artists should be.
A work-in-progress, this is an installation built from a Radiola M40 radio from 1927.
I like to sit my practice somewhere in between nostalgia and talismanic fetish. The work recalls the past but, in its sculptural alteration, at the same time suggests the past as a dream-state that can never be returned to, a notion that can only be re-created in the moment by the observer. We are confronted with the object's properties, function, physical characteristics and embodied power, and how this affects our sensibilities of the present. A radio is a way to conjure into noise the silent waves passing through our bodies.
The goal of the project is to get the radio working and transmit to it audio material developed by myself and singer/historian Clara Gustavsson, as well as to elaborate the installation with more multi-media material. You can hear an early sound idea below created for a one-day installation at Textival, Gothenburg, in March 2012.
Here I will notify about some of the recent things I have recorded.
I will upload newly recorded tracks to Soundcloud as much as I am able.
A new project with myself, Clara Gustavsson, and Richard Widerberg. We are working with ideas about radically altering historical songs. We'll be working more in the future, this was our first concert. Also available on Soundcloud.
Uppdrag Konst with Mårten Falk
Recorded in 2011 during a two-day workshop studio session. Initiated by the Michael Idehall of the GEIGER organisation in Gothenburg, myself and guitarist Mårten Falk, never having previously met, were put together at Element studios under the direction of composer Lars Carlsson. We recorded a set in studio and also a live set. These are two of the six tracks recorded. Recorded and mixed by Linus Andersson.
Do Not Wear Out
Live performance from Dec. 12, 2010 at Hey! It's Enrico Pallazzo in Göteborg, Sweden.
This was a live action performance, which beyond the live sound element also involved a lot of movement within the space of the installation "A Resonant Tomb." I will have a video for this soundtrack soon!
On the floor of the installation I inscribed a labyrinth. The circumference of the labyrinth is surrounded by eleven radios.
I am tied with a rope to the floor at the center of the labyrinth, thus being restricted to move only within that space. In my hands I am holding a radio or a radio with an analog filter. Slowly walking the maze, I strafe past the radios in the circle. Since they are turned on, they interact with the radio I am holding.
A few times you will hear an uncontrolled oscillation (such as at the very end), which was a feature of the installation that somehow also manifested in the radio I performed with! This interference sound is a result of many radios in the same space being tuned to the same frequency.
The performance program involves a small introduction, spending the first half with the filter off while entering the labyrinth, and turning the filter on for the second half while escaping the labyrinth.
The title relates to the impossible promise of perfect sound fidelity, and the strenuous demands of the performance itself. It comes directly from an early ad for wax cylinders made by the Indestructible Record Company.
Thanks to Mappe Persson for recording!
Sine Wave Oscillator
Video by Niklas Rydén. Thanks to Louise Waite for arranging the show.
Last September I started experimenting with a sine wave oscillator to see what kind of things I could do with it. These are big machines that used to populate scientific laboratories and provided clean sine waves to use as reference on oscilloscopes and the like.
In December I received a better-functioning unit from a good friend and decided to make a performance using it with a live looping platform - essentially making a very primitive synthesizer.
I performed this on Dec. 5th 2010 at Atalante in Göteborg. It meanders a bit, since I am still new with this technique, which is quite difficult to master as one must create harmonies only by ear and a frequency dial.
The space played in is rather massive, with a high ceiling, so I attempted to use as much low frequency as possible, thus it would help to listen to this on some quality loudspeakers.
While at the Shift festival in Basel I played a headphone concert. It was a wonderful way to perform. And I had such good artists to perform alongside, as well (thanks to Pei-wen Liu and the people at the festival for making it possible).
Unfortunately I was not able to record the concert, though I was happy with it.
Thankfully, the day I returned to Gothenburg my friend Richard was holding a Placard headphone concert (leplacard.org) which I participated in with 14 others!
My set at that headphone concert was more forceful and noisy, and I dare say a much more successful performance than in Basel. Here it is.
The title of the track is inspired by a friend who said the sounds exacerbated his hunger pangs.
Of course there are many different kinds of hunger.
The way I have performed these sets is a more refined result of the Radio Drift work-in-progress found below.
Your Absent Hands
The song was made entirely with one vintage tube radio receiving shortwave, then the recordings were multitracked. The prominent pulsing drone is the result of my hand's presence near or away from the radio. This of course lends the title part of its meaning, but the title is also meant to evoke a more substantial and serious longing for presence, which is difficult to describe.
Me and Petter Wästberg
Petter Wästberg and I have been working on an improvised duo performance. We first performed October 2009 and with a more elaborate and interesting set up at the end of March 2010.
Here is a video from our first performance. The instruments used were no-input mixer, contact microphones, and I was simply playing the radio and having to move around a lot to do that.
Unfortunately we've been unable to source the recording of the March concert, though presumably one exists somewhere at the music school we performed at.
Petter is great to work with and I hope we can work more in the future.
Your Gleaming Eyes
In the following video rather than using a radio I am sampling from the old 78rpm record and making noises with an old analog keyboard. More info on the Vimeo page.
This was from late August 2009, during a concert for the summer course I was participating in at Valand.
I have not since performed live with the turntable setup, though I will be incorporating something similar into a future installation.