ANTENN 2020 / SoundWavesLament II

art, curating, recent work

Sunrise at 05.38 on Saturday, August 28th… Over the past week, instruments and gear have been moved into the water tower. Tomas has mounted the mikes and loudspeakers, and we have all brought blankets and sleeping mats to make our personal nests along the inner wall. An installation by Patrick releases water dripping from a container above into glass jars in a plastic tub on the ground floor; drip-drop in irregular intervals, like notes from a piano played slowly… and now, time has come; the SoundWavesLament begins.

Julia’s low, steady heart beats, transmitted via contact microphone, and little sounds of dripping water; mingling with humming voices, floating rhythms strummed and tapped; at times, blending with birdsong from outside; passing on to field recordings from World Listening Day; a gentle Sunrise River Reverberation. Julia’s text On Lament is read and echoed, before the first hour closes with a sonic meditation by Pauline Oliveros – Teach Yourself to Fly.


On Lament

what is a lament for you?
for me, lament is a love song in which no-thing is concealed
where the whole of the heart, even the muck at the bottom is revealed released, transformed perhaps
through the exhale of sound waves
through the mouth, the fingers, the pores of the skin
through all the bodies one inhabits and is inhabited by
not just the bodies human but the elemental ones
lament is the transmutation of water
from solid to liquid
from flow to effervescence.

A howl in the night, a blood song
a discharge and dance where it all comes out
a place where there is space for all, even that which is held most tightly as a ball inside – the shame, the grief, the lost and broken stories
lament is a vocal seamstress, stitching all parts together again
making whole and weaving not just human story
stories of places that are part of us, our companion species
the whole ghost of our civilization’s environmental grief
that so few have been singing for so long
that lives in all of us, even when dormant.

There underground where the bones lay
in the mulch of years of fallen leaves
a fertile ground is woven with threads almost invisible
a mycelial weft exchanging life and messages between trees an uprising of fruiting fungal bodies
in a wondrous variety of forms
a lament to the wind sending spores on the airwaves.

Lament reaches deep into our bloodlines
to generations before, through all the veins
of life giving and life taking away
not just my paternal grandfather, but all the people he killed in war
not just the environmental destruction of the land where I was born, the land I live now but the brutal treatment of first nations people on who’s lands we live today
though lament we might let our selves feel this
not just in historical knowledge
but in our bones, under our feet where we walk.

To lament might unravel a small sorrow
and with it release the energy of years that that little sorrow held back moving the grief that froze, moving the shame that coagulated moving with flow, into action and compassion for every one another listening with the heart as an organ of perception
could it change the way we live?

Julia Adzuki
August 4th, 2020


The second hour opens with Anka Draugelates‘ agile, full-toned voice overflowing with love and agony…
but as the programme continues, an unexpected problem occurs within the web radio connection: every now and then, sounds of water interrupt the broadcast – sometimes flowing and burbling, sometimes flushing like a loo… How strange! The following performance is paused for troubleshooting. Tomas targets some suspect files and deletes them. Web streaming is taken up again, according to programme, but those ghost sounds keep haunting the broadcast and the source cannot be tracked. Before noon, we have to give in and finish the live stream. Once the decision is taken, confusion turns into focused presence.; the programme is reordered and the SoundWavesLament resumes – for now, enclosed within the tower.

Tomas Björkdal and Erik Peters; Björn Ola Lind, cellist Johanna Dahl and violinist Katt Hernandez; Torbjörn Grass playing the guitar; Björn Ola’s setup (all photos by HHW.)

From herding calls to soft singing bells, from poetic readings and instrumental improvisations to Dido’s lament deconstructed, and further; to a sing-along of melodious gratitude, a purging ceremony by violin and an electronic/sonic Northern light experience; a ritual lament pulsates within us, between us; releasing emotions and opening up for what will become… past sunset, all the way into the night.

We – the Ljudtornet/Soundtower team – sincerely apologize to our listeners that the announced live streaming of the SoundWavesLament had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, the mishap eventually came across as an unexpected blessing; enhancing artistic focus within a ritual space.

The recorded event is now permanently available (along with updated programme and further information) at:
Ljudtornet / ANTENN 2020



ANTENN 2020 / SoundWavesLament I

art, curating, recent work

For the third year in a row, ANTENN sound/art festival has taken place in Gnesta’s old water tower – this year as a digital event. As before, the initiative was realized through Ljudtornet (the Soundtower); and it has been some intense weeks for the five of us constituting the group – Karin Lindström Kolterud, Tomas Björkdal, Patrick Dallard, Julia Adzuki and myself.

When our planning for ANTENN 2020 began, back in the fall of 2019, we had an urgent feeling that time had come to level up; to set up a collaborative process, with the intent to actually create artwork in situ. Next, a double theme emerged; the element of water as subject matter, and lament as a structural idea and modality. We identified places in the surroundings, embodying certain qualities – the lake, the rivulet, the wellspring, the sewage treatment plant – and we invited eight artists/musicians to a seminar in late August.

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Come August 21st, there’s still some groundwork to be done. Tomas is busy checking the technical equipment and mowing the grass, Karin providing maps and drafting a time schedule, Patrick shopping and cooking… In the evening, our guests arrive – bringing their instruments and devices, their artistic experiences, their openness and awareness.

Next morning, Anka Draugelates joins us on zoom from Germany, and Tuomas Rounakari from Finland – sharing his knowledge of lament in ancient Karelian tradition. Katt Hernandez has brought equipment for field recordings along with her fiery violin, Torbjörn Grass his grassophone and Erik Peters his perceptive listening and composer skills. Björn Ola Lind presents his work with indigenous communities in Australia and the Arctic, and with Ljudtornet’s sister initiative Cisternen – the Tank in Härnösand. The seminar proceeds; Julia reads her text On Lament and the concept gradually becomes more familiar to all of us. We once more enjoy Patrick’s French galettes, and find our ways to the water and to each other in fluctuating constellations. Johanna Dahl and John Beck process their impressions in improvised musical dialogue…

Sunday August 23rd: we gather in the water tower, to try out some first thoughts and impulses. The means of expression vary wildly in this heterogenous group: from voice and instruments to performance and self-built sound installations; from acoustic to electronic, to herding call, jazz, contemporary art music, sacred and classical influences, folk music and indigenous rituals.

The SoundWavesLament is taking shape. Communication flows. Isn’t it marvelous?

Afterwards, we all sit down outside the tower… Time for a photo op; time to conclude. Julia presides by the whiteboard, as the seminar comes to a close. We end up with a draft for the week to come – and for the 38 hours’ performance we’re heading for.

To be continued…

Walking & Streaming World Listening Day

art, recent work, time-out

Walking with waters, celebrating World Listening Day on July 18th: beginning in a shared moment of stillness, under a circle of birch trees by the grassy shore of lake Frösjön; then following lazy ripples downstream as the lake turns into a rivulet; silently strolling along a row of houses and gardens basking in summer light; soon afterwards passing by the municipal sewage treatment plant (while hiding our noses in little bouquets of fragrant herbs); the wetland broadening into rustling reeds interlaced by the sound of crickets, and islands of clouds floating over our heads…

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After a break for small talk and lunch, we proceed – as does the ever-streaming water, now brimming over a threshold, of sorts, and running faster; a rapid; for us, a pause; dipping our feet and our sinkable mics into the cool fresh whirls; we collect some pebbles and stones before taking leave of the riverbank to cross the highway; turning onto a dry dusty dirt road under the sun; the long grasses stirred by a badger, quickly disappearing; a wind in the leaves blending with distant traffic sounds, and the forest closing in on us; finally, we arrive at the hidden cold spring pouring out from under a rock… A woman is already there, to collect her water for the week to come. She offers us to have our waterbottles filled up first. Meanwhile, we play rhythms with the stones we’ve brought.

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Who are we? Julia Adzuki, Patrick Dallard and myself represent the Ljudtornet/Soundtower group, and our artist colleague and friend Lisa Jeannin is joining in for a while too. Invited guests and collaborators for World Listening Day are violinist/composer Katt Hernandez, composer/performer Erik Peters and dancer/choreographer Sindri Runudde… This field recording event is also an opener for sound/art festival ANTENN 2020.

ANTENN 2020 affisch

All filled to the brim, we return to the old watertower. Together with a kulning/herding call recorded by our absent colleague Karin Lindström Kolterud, the sounds collected from today’s water walk are organized to form a loop for streaming over web radio this very evening. Just like on January 17th, the Art’s Birthday website provides the technical platform, along with a thematical frame: The Collective Field. Ljudtornet is taking part together with a number of art initiatives – scattered over three continents – and the audience will be able to create their live soundscape from all contributors.

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Julia checks the settings once more, as Patrick gently plays a water-filled Mexican ocarina and Erik listens attentively. At 7 pm, the Art’s Birthday mesh is up and running, broadcasting from Tblisi, Vienna, Gnesta, Chicago, Vancouver… We’re on air! The loop is streaming and Sindri begins to dance. Katt brings out her violin to improvise a duet with the crickets she recorded in the reeds earlier… It’s dark inside the tower. Suddenly, the camera obscura phenomenon occurs – an image projected upside-down through a tiny hole in the wall: the evening sun, surrounded by flickering leaves, accompanies the performance.

for the Enrichment of Society I

art, curating

In 2002, I first met with some of the most ingenious and brave people I know. From that point onwards, the Land of Mir evolved; an imaginary space, where words and pictures, all kinds of creative designs and social interactions, became possible and meaningful. Functional variations were many, but in this setting the only disability would be prejudice and intolerance (which, in fact, very rarely occurred).

As an artist and a human being, I am deeply grateful for the experiences I’ve gathered over the years in the Land of Mir. And from this perspective – shared with others – the KonstFunk project has been launched; an impulse for the local community to fulfill Article 30 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which states (among other things) that

States Parties shall take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to have the opportunity to develop and utilize their creative, artistic and intellectual potential, not only for their own benefit, but also for the enrichment of society.

On Friday, February 7, KonstFunk arranged a half-day programme for employees from places where people with functional variations work, live and study. A lecture by Anneli Aaltonen Krantz (artistic leader at Inuti Foundation) was followed by artist talks with Magnus Östling (Stockholm) and Adrian Nehard (Järna). Next, participants were invited to try the tactile instruments of SymbioLab, to marvel at the felted pieces from Anna Gran‘s studio at Högklint (Mölnbo), and to delight in the wide range of expressions in icons, self portraits and still life paintings made at Klockargården (Järna) with Sabine Recht as artistic leader.
Pictures from the occasion were shared by Södertälje konsthall (municipal art gallery):

***

Thank you, Södertälje konsthall, for hosting! Now we’ll see where this takes us… The next steps will be taken in a few weeks.

Program Inspirationsdag fm

Art’s Birthday 2020@Watertower

art, recent work, time-out

Conceived in 1963 by Fluxus artist Robert Filliou, Art’s Birthday is celebrated around the world on January 17th. This year, Ljudtornet decided to join in – adding Gnesta to the motley sequence of live-streamed and broadcasted performances and happenings taking place from Tokyo to Vancouver via a number of places; Tblisi, Helsinki, Kaunas, Chotěboř, Freiburg, Gent, Villefranche-sur-Mer, London, Swansea, Brooklyn, Edmonton…

arts birthday @ watertower

As darkness fell, the old watertower of Gnesta once more resonated with sound and light; a follow-up on sound/art festival ANTENN 2019. This time, acute sorrow was also present as bushfires raged in Australia; we decided the event be done in benefit for bushfire relief (scroll down for links).

The Art’s Birthday programme included stunning vocal performances and viola played by Anka Draugelates, as well as voice improvisations together with Karin Lindström Kolterud; Julia Adzuki presented a preview from Styx Lament – a project recently realized in the Tasmanian rainforest of Styx Valley, documented by Tomas Björkdal. Patrick Dallard of SymbioLab and I framed the performances with a light and sound installation… Even with the tower unheated, a gracious audience warmed up the space with attentive listening – and finally followed Anka Draugelates in a joyful, improvised chorus circle.

Full-time live documentation:
Art’s Birthday Bushfire Relief Concert (1): Patrick Dallard DJ’ing with dripping water & steam…
Art’s Birthday Bushfire Relief Concert (2): Anka Draugelates playing and singing in response to Watertower; Anka Draugelates and Karin Lindström Kolterud performing Swedish folk song Limu limu lima (0:04:33); Julia Adzuki presenting the Styx Lament project (0:15:00); Anka and Karin voice improvisation (1:00:00); Anka Draugelates solo (1:05:43); joyful closing circle song (1:15:09)

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Art’s Birthday Festive Water Buffet / Helena Hildur W.

For donations to bushfire relief funds:
WIRES Wildlife Rescue
Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities

Joaquin Romero, Robert Filliou 1972
Robert Filliou in 1972 (photo: Joaquin Romero)

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANTENN 2019

art, curating, recent work, time-out

Back in 2017, a happy collaboration with Julia Adzuki resulted in a Resonance Jam in the old Watertower of Gnesta; a historical venue offering unique acoustic and spatial qualities. Soon, the concept developed into a broader platform as Patrick Dallard of SymbioLab and Karin Lindström Kolterud joined in. Artist group Ljudtornet (“Soundtower”)  formed in 2017/2018, and opened the Watertower to a Sound/Art festival in late August: ANTENN 2018. On a limited budget, the festival managed to present a broad range of sound artists and musicians – all of which declared their wish to return for a next time. One of them, Tomas Björkdal, eventually became a permanent member of the Ljudtornet group and played along with the rest of us…

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Ljudtornet at play in the Watertower;
photo HHW.

And so, ANTENN 2019 was conceived… Thanks to the Swedish Performing Arts Agency and the Swedish Arts Grants Committee – in addition to the municipality of Gnesta – we could work on a considerably larger budget, and thus managed to invite residency artists throughout the summer.

Serious business in ANTENN 2019 administrative board;
photo credit Anka Draugelates

Come September, ANTENN 2019 finally staged two days of live performances and installations by 40+ artists from Sweden and abroad; once more filling the Watertower with resounding waves of light and sound. For anyone who couldn’t be present, the whole programme was live streamed over web radio (and listened to even as far away as Singapore).

My contribution was largely behind the scene. As a painter, I sometimes think of my craft as the faculty of listening with the eyes… here, I had a beautiful opportunity to sit quiet and enjoy the heartbeat of the Watertower, as rendered by so many fervent and sensible performers. Just listen:

Interlude: duet with the setting sun

art, beauty, recent work, time-out

Back in the old Watertower of Gnesta… Collaboration with artists Julia Adzuki and Patrick Dallard (SymbioLab) has been brewing for some time now. Karin Lindström Kolterud – who added the element of ancient sound technique kulning to Resonance Jam #2 – has joined the team. Since last year, a group of people have gathered recurrently in the Watertower to try out its unique acoustic qualities – and during this long hot summer, a number of artist residencies have taken place.

Tomorrow, we’ll launch ANTENN 2018, a two days’ Sound Art Festival. And what an amazing line-up of artists: Linnea Rundgren and Tomas Björkdal with live multichannel sound and image projections, Girilal Baars doing Mongolian overtone singing, jazz/classical duo Johanna Dahl (cello) and Ebba Westerberg (percussion)… not to mention the men’s choir of nearby village Björnlunda – and quite a few more!

Full program here: ANTENN 2018, program

And my part? A contribution to the upcoming performance of Julia and Karin; they will be playing with voice, body, space, and another one-of-a-kind instrument – a wrecked old marine buoy, prepared by Patrick. Julia and I did the lighting… and the setting sun joined us for an hour, turning the watertower into a giant Camera Obscura. What an honour; playing duet with our home star.

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ResonanceJam@Watertower II

art, beauty, recent work

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Gnesta Watertower, Saturday morning, September 23rd; all photos HHW.

All set? Yes! Ok, let’s turn on the lights and open to the public… Here’s Resonance Jam #2. Welcome!

Shades of blue, orange and yellow blending into each other. Bells clanging – sometimes loud, sometimes barely audible. Shadows playing on the walls; reaching all the way up to the ceiling, then quickly diminishing as visitors move around. Reflections from the handmirrors wandering like moons over soft horizons.


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In the afternoon, Julia’s friend Karin shows up. She climbs the stairs quietly and vanishes without anybody noticing. Then her voice comes back to us, expanding to fill the whole tower as she sings us a ‘kulning’ – an ancient herding call, intense and rich in half- and quarter-tones. Originally sung in mountains and forests, the kulning was often echoed over large distances and accompanied by the bells of home-coming cattle. Here, somebody occasionally touches the floating bells, and the octagonal space provides a very characteristic echo… As Karin ceases to sing, a mellow, saturated silence arises. It grows and stays; a moment of rapture, carried out of time. Slowly, we return to ourselves, hoping for more. Nothing happens for a while. Then, when all our expectations have finally dissolved into thin air, Karin takes up a blue and haunting note to give us another improvised session.

Here you can hear Karin Lindström Kolterud performing her ‘kulning’ at Resonance Jam #2:
Kularkraft

The very last guests to arrive – as the tower is already emptying – is a small family, two young brothers and their parents. Peaceful joy reverberates within.

Many thanks to the Water Tower Society for inviting us, for facilitating, documenting and for cinnamon buns; to Karin for the kulning; and to each and everyone who joined us for ResonanceJam #2!

ResonanceJam@Watertower I

art, beauty, recent work

Björkbom Vattentornet
Gnesta Watertower; photo Bengt Björkbom

So, here’s the old Watertower of Gnesta. Built in 1913, today no longer in use – but occasionally open for events, and carefully maintained by a local society of dedicated people… who gracefully invited Julia Adzuki and me to play along a bit more. We happily accepted – of course – and brought our materials to this amazing space for ResonanceJam #2.

At ground level, the ceiling is barely visible; lost in shadows some twelve or fourteen metres above one’s head. The empty water tank is still higher up, and so is the topmost, hidden space… A wooden staircase is spiralling upwards along the octagonal wall. As the space so strongly accentuates verticality, we decided to address it by constructing mobiles to let the bells and silk float… A tribute also to the idea of water. And light projected upwards, maybe?

Bells, feathers, wire, silk, rope, metal tubes, masking tape, spotlights, light filters, mirrors… And what about little handheld mirrors, Julia suggests – to echo the torchlights that were handed out to visitors in the Resonance Jam #1? Yes, but where to find them..?

Drilling and fastening. Attaching wires and doubling them for safety. Adjusting and fixing weights. Climbing the staircase, tying ropes, hoisting and lowering. Stitching fabric and ironing. During these days of preparation, a saying from the ancient Chinese Book of Changes – the I Ching – comes to my mind more than once; at the very moment when all elements in a process are in accordance with dao, “everything acts to further”. This seems to be the case here – despite any clumsiness or confusion, we stumble into functionality and beauty time and over again.

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