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…
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)
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
Robert Filliou in 1972 (photo: Joaquin Romero)
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…
Ljudtornet at play in the Watertower;
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:
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 male voice 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.