Gunhild Mathea Olaussen
Sculptural sound installation comprising 17 glass panels prepared with dry colour pigment and plaster,
17 transducer speakers, 20 min. sound composition.
Part of the solo exhibition Sounding Matter at Galleri F 15 (01.02–15.03.20), curated by Maria C. Havstam
Solo exhibition, Trondheim Electronic Arts Centre, (11.10–17.11.19), curated by Espen Gangvik.
Solo exhibition, Lydgalleriet in Bergen (10.05–02.06.19), curated by Julie Lillelien Porter.
Nominated by nyMusikk to represent Norway at the World Music Days 2018 in Beijing.
Concerts with Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen at Lydgalleriet in Bergen.
The action of interfering, or the process of being interfered with
The combination of two or more electromagnetic waveforms to form a resultant wave in which the displacement is either reinforced or cancelled.
A meeting, a change of paths.
A polyphony of voices, creating a New.
New patterns, new coexistences, new forms.
Something obvious, something fragile.
Something barely noticeable.
I am interested in this micro perspective, this is where offset happens.
This is where we ought to listen.
An assemblage of soft forces, barely visible dissonances.
A resonance of coexistence.
Gunhild Mathea Olaussens installasjon Interferens tar utgangspunkt i interferens og svevninger i vårt menneskelige sanseapparat, som fenomen, metode og kunstnerisk tematikk. Arbeidet er komponert i polyrytmikk over et utvidet stemmespekter av atten interfererende glassplater, gips og fargepigment, kvinnevokal, perkusjon og partitur trykket i letterpress.
Interferens oppstår i det to eller flere bølger opptrer på samme sted og danner et nytt bølgemønster. Interferens mellom to lydbølger med nesten samme frekvens, genererer en tredje tone i vår lytting, dette fenomenet kalles svevninger. Interferens viser også til en interfererende handling, noe som blander seg med, forstyrrer - et møte mellom flere komponenter, en forskyvning, en polyfoni av stemmer som samlet danner en ny sameksistens.
Arbeidet søker å implementere interferens i grenselandet mellom materialitet og sansing, og åpne et refleksjonsrom der en forskjøvet opplevelse av fysisk autonomi kan oppstå.
Interference occurs when two or more waves appear in the same location and create a new wave pattern.
Interference between sound waves with almost the same frequency generates a third tone to the listener, a phenomenon known as a beat. Interference also refers to an interfering action, something that mixes with, and interrupts, a meeting between multiple components, a displacement, a polyphony of voices which together form a new co-existence.
The installation Interference takes as its starting point the concept of interference and the propensity for beats in the human sensory system as a phenomenon, method and artistic theme. The work was composed polyrhythmically across an extended spectrum of voices of 17 interfering glass panels, plaster and colour pigment, female voice, percussion and a score printed in a letterpress. The work seeks to implement interference in the borderlands between materiality and human senses and to create room for reflection in which a displaced perception of physical autonomy can occur.
The soundscape sent to the glass panels is one of Chinese singing bowls made from crystal, sine tones and soprano. The sound of the glass panels is a dialogue between the audio material transmitted to the transducers and the inherent resonance and flexibility of the glass. The main part of the composition was therefore produced during a preliminary project with the installation already installed, as opposed to in a traditional sound studio. The composition, which works explicitly with interfering sounds, is mixed through 17 different channels, one for each glass panel. Thus, it is within the material itself, but also between the glass panels in the room, that the sounds meet and interference is created. The positioning of the audience and the way their ears face also determine how the composition weaves together and interferes. Each listening is therefore unique.
The glass panels come in two different sizes juxtaposed with the human body: nine small panels relating to the heart and head and eight larger panels relating to the torso. When you walk between the panels or turn directly towards a panel, the feeling of the vibrating sound becomes omnipresent, it exists not merely within the glass panel itself but flows into the room and the body. Standing inside this soundscape has both a physical and a mental impact.
The large glass panels have been prepared with circular ornaments reminiscent of Hilma af Klimt’s paintings but have been made from thick layers of dry colour pigment and plaster. The ornaments dampen the vibrations in different ways and therefore create micro-differences in the sound, but they primarily have an effect on how we perceive the sound, the temperature, the weight, based on the visual impression and the material presence. The ornaments also highlight the overlaps, or beats, between the panels as they turn and continually create new calibrations of depth, density, opacity, transparency. The basic rectangular shapes of the glass panels slowly but surely morph into a kaleidoscope which challenges our perceptions of fixed shapes.
I invited three artists to join me in developing the project: Janne-Camilla Lyster, Ane Thon Knutsen and Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen. I wanted to create two adjacent works within a conceptual frame: one poetic score and one concert. The works themselves should be independent of each other but informed by and informative for each other and my work on the installation. Thus, the dialogue between the score and the installation is a mutual one in which the score has informed my work on the materials and the materials have informed Janne-Camilla Lyster and Ane Thon Knutsen as they worked on the score. Similarly, Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen has produced a composition for percussion and voice which is inextricably linked to the sound, materiality and space that exist in the installation and the score. After an initial dialogue about the conceptual framework followed by continued sharing of pictures, inspiration and experiences during the process, the artists have been free to create their own work. These works are therefore a constituent part of Interference, and they are also part of my doctoral thesis in their role as responses and reflections, although the copyright belongs to the artists. In combination, interfering dialogue emerge in between these works (installation/score/concert) which we could never have envisaged or captured with a traditional collaboration.
During the Interference exhibition at Lydgalleriet in Bergen I also invited the film-maker David Alræk to create a photographic interpretation of the work. I deliberately refer to it as an interpretation, because I asked him to make a film describing his perception of the work rather than documenting the work in minute detail. As you can see, the film really does convey a personal experience of the work. Perhaps this is the only way to document a work which emphatically places itself in the subjective sphere.
Concept, execution and production: Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen
Sound composition: Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen
Glass bowls and sine tones: Gunhild Mathea Husvik-Olaussen
Soprano: Silje Aker Johnsen
Technology: Thom Johansen / NOTAM
Poetic score, lyrics: Janne-Camilla Lyster
Poetic score, graphic interpretation: Ane Thon Knutsen
The concert in the installation at Lydgalleriet on 10 and 11 May 2019 was composed and performed by Ane Marthe Sørlien Holen.
Artistic documentation: David Alræk
Artist’s assistants: Amber Ablett and Therese Næss Diesen
Produced in collaboration with Lydgalleriet and Galleri F 15.
Supported by the Norwegian Theatre Academy at Østfold University College, the Programme for Artistic Research, the Arts Council Norway’s Audio and Visual Fund, Contemporary Arts Centres in Norway´s regional project funding for visual art, the Norwegian Visual Artists’ Fund, NOTAM.
PHOTOS (from top):
video: David Alræk
Ingeborg Øien Thorsland © Galleri F 15
Gunhild Mathea Olaussen
Video from the exhibition Sounding Matter at Galleri F15. Place 2 from 20.00, Interference from 10.00. Video: Morten Halfstad