Tangled in Echo
Site-specific sound installation
Imagine Being Here Now
6th MOMENTUM Biennial
Part I – 2’47”
Part II – 2’45”
Part III – 8’06”
Curated by: Aura Seikkula, FI, Christian Skovbjerg Jensen, DE, Marianne Zamecznik, NO, Markús Thór Andrésson, IS and Theodor Ringborg, SE
Comissioned by: MOMENTUM
Tangled in Echo was specifically devised for the Solberg Tower, a nine stories high tower next to the E6 highway, connecting Norway with Sweden and the rest of Europe. The tower is 30 meters high and designed by the architect Todd Saunders. It is built by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration to be a peculiar highway resting area. The building complex also presents geological and historical information of the surrounding area, which, as a fertile area located by the sea has been inhabited since ancient times. The tower has a free entry and is open from early morning till late evening.
In short these were the premises for Tangled in Echo, a sound installation in three acts. Though the work is not narrative, at least not in a linear way I will start unfolding it from Part 1 which was installed on the 9th floor of the tower. Each of the parts were initiated by a tiny motion detector, and was therefore often heard from the beginning.
Was experienced from headphones standing really close to the window facing the highway. The window is large enough so that the viewer/listener did only see what occured outside the building, almost as if floating above the landscape. The text from the headphones was simple. A voice describing the course of a red blood cell travelling inside a human body, plunging from the heart into the blood veins, travelling through the central organs to the outer limbs and eventually back to the heart again. I wanted to make the viewer aware of her presence, to almost feel how her blood veins sculpt every inch of her body in the space. Specifically to do this while at the same time watching over the highway, the constant flow of traffic. Cars appearing from the distance, making their way and disappearing again. Roads covering the landscape and stretching beyond the horizon, building an immense network that connects all parts of the land.
Could be listened to from headphones one floor down, on the 8th floor. This time the viewer stood on an indoor balcony still facing the same view over the highway but now more detached from the landscape, there appeared a gap between the window and the viewer, who was now standing more inside, to the core of the building.
In Part II the viewer encounter the sound and voice of another person, sicen it was recorded in the exact same spot using a binaural recording technic, the presence of the other, and its vicinity with the viewer was very strongly felt. The text of this part focused with the relation of the inner, intimate and personal with the voice of the other. How the voice from the outside finds its way inside the core of the listener.
After Part II the viewer walked downwards, deeper inside the building. On the 6th floor the viewer entered another balcony, similar to the one on the 8th floor and actually faced towards the same highway but this time there is no window and the viewer is instead facing a solid concrete wall.
The sound started to play almost immediately when the viewer turned around the corner and enterd another balcony. Now the viewer was completely detached from the landscape, the view outside was now replaced by a solid concrete wall. The sound was heard as a reflection from the concrete, it was projected towards the wall using a Holosonic Audio Spotlight System, the holosonic speakers were installed under the balcony and because they produced a very directed and containd beam of sound created a tactile, almost physical, experience of the sound itself.
The text in Part III was a collection of short anecdotes of time and being. It begun by talking about concrete creep, a process of how concrete deteriorates through erosion that happens within the material itself, something that inevitabely crumbles all built infrastructure from the last hundred years. From there the piece leaped to a story of blind people who use sounds to navigate, who actually learned to analyse the recieved echo of their voice to form visual images of the surrounding. From here the story moved briefly over to Göbekli Tepe, the oldest know place of worship found in south eastern Turkey, before continuing to a problem of non decaying plastic waste in graveyards of Norway and so forth.
All of the short stories were presented in a seemingly random order, as if flipping between frequencies and landing from radio channel to another. A multitude of things occure simultaneously, all around us and what we hear are the thingd we are able to tune into. As an artwork Tangled in Echo very much aimed to raise an awarnes of ones own presence in the here and now that eventually is always just a small link in a larger chain.
Part III was the last scripted experience, after this the viewer continued her spiraling journey for five more floors. All the floors were much similar to each other, yet the shining light entering in from contrasting angles, illuminated the similar spaces slightly differently on each floor.Information of the Solberg Tower and the architect can be found from here:
Images 1, 3, 4, & 5 courtesy by Vegard Kleven