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 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.

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Public Commission IV: Light Fibres, Dark Fibres (April – May 2018)

art, recent work

Having finished painting the acoustic diffuser, I return to the alcove with the circular window. The bench is there, waiting. The dyed silk is now being processed by Anna Wahl Gran and her co-workers at Högklint; felted with dark fine wool into large swathes of fabric… I receive one magnificent piece after another, and store them in the adjacent classroom. And I’ve got a set of optic fibres, a “Starry Sky Set”, ready to install. This requires some planning, a star map, a ladder and a good drilling machine, a staple gun, non-acid wood glue, a lot of tooth picks, and patience.

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First, I mark out positions for each of the 81 individual fibres, arranged to resemble some of the constellations of the Northern and Southern skies. Then, I remove the wall boards to drill the holes. That made, I stretch and fasten the felted pieces over the plywood. Toothpicks, pushed in from the backside, show where the holes are and make way through the strong fabric where the drilling machine would be useless.

Meanwhile, the fibres have been provisionally attached to the original brick wall. Now comes the patience part…

With the felt covered wall-boards loosely set in place, I can squeeze one arm in from behind to manipulate the thin fibres into their holes – working literally by fingertip sense, not being able to see through wood – and meet with the acrylic toppings from the front side. Applying the proper kind of glue, again by the help of toothpicks, and trying not to loose any of those minimal fixtures, measuring 3 by 5 millimetres…

The whole process takes me three full weeks or more, but finally I’ve arrived. And it works!

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Public Commission III; Bob Marley, Conchita Wurst and Wang Di (March – April 2018)

art, recent work

I’ve learnt a lot from this commission; about the existence of acoustic absorbers, for instance.

One of the many professions involved in this renovation (I lost count of numbers long ago) is the acoustic consultant, who provides advice concerning the interior soundscape. Those guidelines come with a drawback, though: the recommended pre-fab acoustic panels would cover most of the coloured back walls, which were designed to give each classroom its character… Hmm. The commissioner, the site manager, the architect, the school representative and I discuss the matter, but decide to leave the issue unsolved for now.

Unlike the other classrooms, the music room is furnished with a site-built wooden panel, designed to diffuse soundwaves rather than absorb them. It’s made from lathes of different thickness, arranged in a sequence of four: one broad, one thin, two mid-sized; repeat x 14. The visual pattern of the diffuser corresponds to some kind of keyboard, or notation of rhythm perhaps. Of course, the surface had to be painted too – it wasn’t part of my commission, really, but I couldn’t keep my hands away…

I decided to use the lilac of the back wall (just a shade lighter) for the bottom and the sides of the lathes. Then the outer surfaces could sport a colour sequence… Hey, couldn’t it be associated to tones somehow? Yes – Chinese music traditionally uses a pentatonical scale, where the notes correspond to white, yellow, violet, red and black. Now that’s a pretty unconventional palette; I’ll give it a try. Furthermore, the colour sequence of five, overlapping the form pattern of four, will produce a pleasant cross-rhythm.

Then there was the carpenter, who suggested I paint the whole thing in red, green and yellow instead, as a tribute to reggae music – well, I could at least sneak such a triplet in somewhere. And isn’t there some other combination of colours connected to a certain kind of music..? I ask around, but get no positive answer. Come to think of Conchita Wurst, stunningly beautiful drag queen and inspiring artist… Conchita may or may not be transgender, but she reminds me about a flag that deserves to be better known: the pink, white and blue one.

Salute to Conchita! Salute to Bob Marley and his legacy! And, thinking of legacy – Cecilia Lindqvist, my teacher in Chinese, studied music in Beijing in the early 1960’s. Her teacher then was the renowned qin player Wang Di. Salute also to Wang Di!

2015-03-27 Back in the Painting Studio

art, recent work

150327 1bTwo days ago, a feedback session ending with a secret waffle party in the smithy… Today, things are jazzing me around: down goes the rag, up come the prints and the plates. It’s fun, but also frustrating; I cannot yet see what’s really going on.

2015-03-23 Back in the Painting Studio

art, recent work

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This time, I needn’t draw the grid because I know it anyway. I concentrate on the circle (or close-to-circle, to be exact). One laborative space isn’t enough, I need three; but, in duplicating the circle, I realize the wall isn’t really big enough. Fine, I’ll make the circles overlap then. One for the metals, one for the prints. And the third one for a text, as a beginning.

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2015-03-20 Back in the Painting Studio

art, recent work

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Today is the second day of the Light Symposium, and the day of the spring equinox. And – remarkably – a partial solar eclipse is happening as well, at 11.00 am here in Stockholm. Grey clouds veil the celestial bodies, just enough so that everybody could follow the event with the naked eye. People crowd in the streets as the light dims. A passing shade, the sun disc turned into a crescent slowly rocking from left to right, a distant ship in the immense seas above us… then, it’s over.
A little later, I leave the symposium for the studio; leave lectures for artefacts.

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2015-03-19 Back in the Painting Studio

art, recent work

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The Lighting Department at the Royal Institute of Technology is hosting an international Light Symposium in Stockholm. In the morning, I attend together with a group of students and teachers from the Royal Institute of Art… and in the afternoon, I hurry back to school for another two weeks in the painting studio. Bringing back the metal plates, adding the litho and intaglio prints I’ve made in the meantime, nailing the plummet to the wall once more.
Mmmm-hmm.