Here are some beautiful pix and information about a video- sound installation I had the pleasure to watch at NES artists residency in Skagastrond. The installation is part of a big project by Norwegian artists Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli. Starring many beautiful people from Skagastrond, Iceland and the rekcless surfist and artist himself, Markús Ingi Guðnason. Photos by Wibeke Bruland and Andrea Elaine Hoff. Enjoy !!!!
A very short introduction to The Dips, specifically A Submergence in Húnaflói (The Dips #4)
1 – What’s the idea?
The idea stems from John Cage’s philosophy of the music of the surroundings. Basing it on his composition A Dip in the Lake (1978) we also utilize his infamous chance operations, to eliminate our subjective aesthetics. We present an audiovisual collection of the local surroundings in Skagaströnd, by picking out random addresses. Then we walk to the different locations, set up our recording equipment and record 2 minutes from each place. We spend very little time deciding in what angle to put up the camera and the microphones. This way, we do not control what we collect. The recordings are not of our choosing, they are solely Skagaströnd’s own aesthetic.
This is an important part of this project. The ‘art’ here, is not ours, it’s made by Skagaströnd. By that I mean the people who decided to settle there, the planners and builders of the town, and everyone who lives there, improve the place (and destroy it) and keep Skagaströnd alive. Finally there are two formats for presenting the project. We do a performance with compositions made from the audiovisual material, and we invite the audience to play around with the material themselves, in an interactive installation.
It is an integral part of the concept to involve more than just the surroundings. Therefore we always look for local collaborators as well. In Skagaströnd we made our installation from beautiful children’s paintings. We needed 30 objects to attach our cables to, and we thought it would be a good idea to have them freshly made by the local art talents of the children. To do this, we simply contacted the principal of the school, Vera, and found a practical solution in visiting Fristund: The Icelandic after school program, with enough extra time and energy to participate in a project like ours. Other times, we have collected objects from the area, objects with some sort of connection to the area itself. We also needed a collaborator to develop the performance and perform with. In every place we have done this, we have 1 or 2 local collaborators. They bring the authenticity of the (re)presentation and the recontextualization of the surroundings to the project on a human level. In a small place like Skagaströnd, Markús even functions as a guy people personally know. After spending a couple of weeks at Nes, we just decided to ask Markús to join in. He had this rock star mentality to him, and just by slowly getting to know him, we decided that we wanted to have him on the team. There is no specific method for choosing our collaborators, we just participate in the community, and see what comes out of it. We must also mention that we spoke to a lot of people who helped us in many ways – all important team players in the project. Like the mayor and several of his employees, Halldór the renaissance man, Signý and her colleagues at the bank, and of course Vicki and the other Nes associates.
3 – How does your “machine” works ? Music and video etc…
The audiovisual set-up consists of 30 MIDI drum triggers, hooked up to two different laptops – on for video and one for audio. The laptops are fed with the recordings of the surroundings, and the MIDI drum triggers functions as control devices for the material. They are touch sensitive, in such a a way that anything you mount it becomes like a piano key, or a percussion instrument, that plays back a sound or video clip (long or short, or looped). This way we can work with layering, harmonics, live drumming, looped beats, and so on. All derived from the source material. This applies to both audio and video. The output goes into one projector with a large screen, and two stereo pair speakers – to distribute the sound in all of the space (without contaminating the raw material, original stereo is still there).
Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli has been working within performing arts since 2009. They are both holding an MA from the University of Bergen in comparative literature and theatre science, respectively. In the very beginning of their theatre careers, while working with the independent theatre company Teater NOR, they mostly worked with designing and making sound, music, video and lighting. The company is known for its post dramatic style, often emphasizing the theatre space as a main element, with actors often “reduced” to workers, or agents for the spatial and temporal audiovisual experience. This combination of academic backgrounds and a technical, however still artistic approach has shaped their concepts and style in their different projects as a duo. Their currently ongoing performance series The Dips, is a prime example of this.
Cari amici e studenti italiani, ecco la presentazione in inglese di un’opera molto interessante che ho avuto il piacere di osservare mentre ero in Islanda alla residenza per artisti: NES. L’opera fa parte di un piu’ vasto progetto costruita dagli artisti norvegesi Runar Bruteig Olsen and Anita Bjørkli e consiste di un macchinario dove immagini e suoni vengono modificate dal pubblico operando individualmente su alcune componenti della “macchina”.