Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of ‘Green’?
— Stan Brakhage
Stan Brakhage is known for his experimental films created by painting or glueing images directly onto celluloid. This way he opened up a different way of seeing, challenging our perception and bringing us back to a child-like way of seeing unruled by man-made laws of perspective. The Dante Quartet is one of his experimental short films from 1987 it was inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, and took six years to produce. The effect of the images being painted directly onto the celluloid is both meditative and challenging for the viewer.
The ‘House of Construction’ founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius was a laboratory of ideas, a school of arts and crafts bound to be remembered in the decades to come for its unique approach to a total art and as a symbol of the avant-garde Germany. It operated until 1933, when it was closed by the Nazi regime. But how was life at the Bauhaus? Which faces would you have seen? Photographers and former students T.Lux Feininger and Edmund Collein documented its life and activities. Here are some of the things you could have seen at one of the most famous arts schools in the world.
LAK is an annual four-day festival in Copenhagen presenting Nordic experimental sound art. This year an old varnish factory in the area ‘Amager’ provided an authentic, urban and industrial exhibition space for multiple sound installations, performances and experimenting concerts. Experienced with music yet fairly unfamiliar with experimental sound art, our new contributor Nadja Loran visited LAK – Festival of Nordic Sound Art. Nadja has a BA in Communication and is currently doing a masters degree in visual culture with a focus on contemporary visual phenomena and imaging in a social, cultural and historical context. Here is a selection of artworks and artists that caught her attention.
‘Vibrant Disturbance II’ – installation by Christian Skjødt (DK)
Christian Skjødt is an improviser and sound artist from Denmark. His installatory work often deals with the enlargement of unheard and hidden sounds, and creating responsive environments exploring translations of other physical phenomenons into sound. (words by LAK)
Vibrant Disturbance II uses light to produce sound. The sounds coming from the disassembled car speakers hanging from the ceiling in the industrial space, change due to the outside light and is even affected by the human shadows in the room. The installation produced an interesting contrast by juxtaposing a minimalistic aesthetic with repetitive electronic sounds connoting busy factories, flocks and swarms of animals, tin drums and standing ovations.
‘Magia universalis naturæ et artis’ – Installation by Ragnhild May (DK)
Ragnhild May is a Danish sound artist who works with installation and performance. May’s artworks are based on materials she finds and the process of examining and reorganising them. Recognisable and everyday things like air mattress pumps, recorders and vacuum cleaner hoses are reconstructed in new compositions and their common sound aesthetic potentials explored. (words by LAK)
In LAK’s own words: “disassembled recorders, air pumps, bike tubes and bowls create something resembling traditional water whistles where the tone is affected by the water in the resonance chamber and vice versa” in this installation. From a distance the deep rusty container nicely framed the glass bowls, resembling large soap bubbles. Moving closer this was contradicted by a sudden loud ringing, which became unbearably and enervating if entering the container. Disregarding the state of my eardrums I found it alluring, though writing this my ears recall the discomfort.
Band Ane (DK)
The Danish electronica/laptop-producer Band Ane (Ane Østergaard) became, together with her “Mr. Laptop”, a fresh and long awaited feminine touch to the electronic music scene, when her debut ‘Anish Music’ came out in 2006. (words by LAK)
Finding inspiration in the sounds and hidden stories of her surroundings, Band Ane (Aka. Ane Østergaard) mixes electronica with drum’n’bass, quirky sounds and minimalistic vocal elements. This was my first live experience with the electronica/laptop-producer and her guitarist – I liked their soothing though nuanced and playful soundscape.
LAK also featured an outdoor sauna, storytelling ghettoblasters in the dark corners of the factory garden, and live radio production from a rolling wooden trolley.
Check out LAK and the artists who were represented here.
Paul Nougé was a poet, a philosopher, a photographer, an activist and a friend of René Magritte, with whom he is portrayed in this picture (Nougé is the smiling guy on the right).
These pictures by Nougé are part of a series called “La subversion des images” (“Subversion of the images”) which were taken between 1929 and 1930. They look incredibly modern and so ahead of their time. Maybe the name Francesca Woodman rings a bell?