The atmosphere of Venice, sonic weather and virtual urban sonic acupuncture

Picture1.png

“Walk slowly, drift, listen”

Our cities are decaying. We either circulate as fast as possible through public spaces or we inhabit them in a consumerist way. The urban dweller feels little engagement with its environment. Besides, the normalization of what we could call “the headphone city” in which people is creating their own soundtrack for the urban space is contributing to new forms of urban detachment and isolation. The Virtual Urban Sonic Acupuncture App (vusaa) is an artistic invitation to listen to the city with different ears and to feel how a subtle sonic intervention can drive our attention to urban areas and hidden corners fostering a more conscious urban dwelling and social dialogue.

What is Urban Sonic Acupuncture?
We can define acupuncture as a local action by means of a pressure point on a key spot with the power to change the situation globally, beyond the local area in which the pressure point is applied. Sonic acupuncture relies in applying sonic pressure points on key spots affecting the global sonic situation. Urban Sonic Acupuncture parallels the practice of Urban and Public Space Acupuncture in the Aural architecture field. Aural architecture deals with spatial and cultural acoustics, it also assigns four basic functions of sound in space: social, navigational, aesthetic and musical spatiality. Artistic sonic acupuncture interventions are placed along this axis by starting a negotiation between artistic intentions and the local knowledge and practices.

vusaa creates a virtual urban sonic acupuncture intervention in the public space by sensing elements existing in the place the user is in. A generative system is set in motion generating a sonic acupuncture specific to the given conditions the user is at every moment by using the microphone to listen to the environment, the camera for luminance sensing, the clock, and the GPS data.

Besides the inspiration from the practice of Urban Acupuncture, vusaa refers to psychographic techniques that Guy Debord defined as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” and to the soundwalk practice that Hildegard Westerkamp called to “… any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are.”

 

Urban Sonic Acupuncture: Aural strategies for the city space

Blog author Josue Moreno’s event (16.6. at 11 am) will consist of a presentation in which the artist will introduce and illustrate the theoretical and artistic background of his current artistic research on Urban Sonic Acupuncture and an enhanced sound walk by means of virtual sonic acupuncture in the surroundings of the Research Pavilion in Venice using mobile devices.

If you are interested in participating in the event or in testing the app, please contact the author at this email address: josue.moreno.prieto [at] uniarts.fi
Please bring your own headphones to the event.

Reading Stanley Brouwn (2015-2016)


Installation by Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
Book by Stanley Brouwn my steps 12.12.2005 – 1.1.2006, modified metronome, table.
Duration: 21 days

About the work:

The work entitled Reading Stanley Brouwn addresses the theme of everyday walking, measuring, archiving, reading and rhythmic temporality.

By way of reading the artistic book my steps 12.12.2005 – 1.1.2006, the project establishes a relationship with the opus of the conceptual artist Stanley Brouwn (Suriname/Netherlands), whose many works address the (im)measurability and materiality of the distances and their archivisation through the process of counting his own steps.

The present work questions the understanding of the written documentation-archive of everyday activity as something tied exclusively to the past, and through the process of re-enactment suggests a reading of the archive as an instruction. This gesture transposes the archive outside the passing of time, giving it rather a double temporal orientation — into the past and simultaneously into the future.

The project contains three elements — the book my steps 12.12.2005 – 1.1.2006 of the artist Stanley Brouwn, an action that I have undertook, and an installation which repositions the book and the action “in the now” as an unclear and elusive rhythmical instruction, suggestion, norm or support for movement, reflection or listening.

The book consists of twenty-one pages, each page having the date and the number of steps printed on it. I read this book so that in the period of twenty-one days (from 1.2.2016 – 21.2.2106), on each day I walked precisely the prescribed number of steps, simultaneously recording their rhythms. The installation consists of the book and a modified metronome which ticks in the recorded rhythms of my steps from that period.

Through the activity of inscribing the text into my own body, I inhabit Brouwn’s archive with my own presence. The measured-out walk makes concrete the printed number of steps by bringing them back into the everyday, from which they have originated. If Brouwn’s archive points to a walked distance and thus invites the reader to imagine this distance, of which the measuring unit is an unknown variable, Brouwn’s step, then my reading transposes this (un)defined distance into the dimension of time — into rhythm and duration.

The recorded time of the steps constitutes a new invisible digital archive of rhythms, whose variations echo my walked path, my intentions, as also my spatial and social bearings. And like Brouwn’s, this archive too is imperfect, abstract, directionless, ambiguous and open.

Credits:
Software and hardware development: Mr. Stock Interfaces
Software development: Slavko Glamočanin
Carpenter: Seamus Cater

Producers:
Norwegian Artistic Research Programme and Bergen Academy of Art and Design
Zavod SPLOH, Ljubljana
Zavod Projekt Atol, Ljubljana

Project supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and City of Ljubljana – MOL

Thanks to: Robocross – Berlin

Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec’s work is part of the Research Pavilion‘s first exhibition You gotta say yes to another access, a Nordic collaboration and produced by Uniarts Helsinki. The exhibition is open May 11th – July 2nd 2017.

Hauntopia / What if

The concept of haunting has been employed to create a language for the many ways in which an unfinished past makes itself known in the here and now (Avery Gordon) and violent histories, or stories, cause ongoing disruptions, wronging the wrong (Eve Tuck). Haunting often takes place when an official narrative insists that the violence of subjection and injustice is overcome (after liberation from colonialism, after Stonewall, after the end of a war, etc.) or when their oppressiveness is strictly denied. Signs appear – we might call them ghosts or specters –, disturb us and produce cracks in the surface of normality.

These ghosts are alive, equipped with agency they do not subjugate under human control. They don’t “belong” to the person, who experiences them, they rather “appear” as agency in-between subjectivities, images and space. They draw us affectively: Something has to be done! As such, ghosts allow for a distinct way of producing knowledge in and for research. Haunting is “a special way of knowing what has happened or is happening”, Avery Gordon asserts.

In times of violent political conflicts, the exhibition explores the conjuring of specters as a proper method of arts-based research. It welcomes the appearance of ghostly events, signs, images, practices and objects that recount the ferocities of the past while also holding the possibility of a different future. Building on a glossary of hauntopic devices the work exhibited is looking for traces, negations even, of things, stories and future visions, while in many instances making use of formats that employ ephemeral, opaque or sci-fi elements. Thus the exhibition explores the range of a ghostly aesthetics, but with a reference to “What If” it also highlights that haunting can open up a future possibility or work as an exile for our longing; it stimulates an imagination of how things could be otherwise. In the utopia we mingle with the presence of colonialism, with tamed revolutionary moments, subjugated knowledge and other ghosts. We explore artistic practices that invite ghosts to appear and dance while simultaneously making traces of a possible future in the here and now.

Anette Baldauf and Renate Lorenz

This text is a curators’ statement that will also be present in the Research Pavilion for visitors to read during the Pavilion’s third exhibition Hauntopia / What if during September 8th – October 15th.

Galleria del Vento

When the wind blows, things change. This forces us to reflect. Our senses show us one part, a surface, an effect. Yet more lies behind, undisclosed. We sense that something lies behind, waiting to be discovered. Just as we sense that we might be rewarded if we make an effort, if we search, if we venture forth into the unknown. If we question, and if we question ourselves.

Will we be able to bear standing in the wind? Will we be able to accept that our way of thinking has flaws, that it deceives itself all too willingly? That we believe that we are thinking “independently” whereas in fact we are satisfying our personal patterns all too readily? And might switching between verbal and nonverbal expression be one of the few practices in which we can reveal both ourselves and our self-repeating patterns?

Where is the wind when it isn’t blowing? Where is research when it isn’t doing research? Does it still exist then? Shouldn’t we speak of “researching” instead of “research”? And shouldn’t we understand research as a human activity in which we ask too much of ourselves to reach the open, unclarified sphere? Isn’t “researching” an activity that leads us away from certainty?

Can objectives be imposed on research? Isn’t it rather like the wind, which we can at best guide and shape? Who wanted to lock up the wind? Who wanted to force art to do something? Isn’t this rather one of the few social spheres in which we can conceive of the impossible, the unthinkable? And doesn’t this make it a most important force, one which will strengthen society in the long term?

Yes, it’s draughty when we stand in the wind. Yes, the wind makes us feel cold. Without the wind, though, it gets sticky. Without the wind, it gets hot and oppressive. We are living in oppressive times. I see a world in which one country after another is closing itself off out of fear of the international wind. I see a world that is increasingly forbidding itself any imponderability, any draught, also at home, out of a demand for security. I am a friend of small winds. But I don’t like storms.

Florian Dombois

This text is an artist statement that will also be present in the Research Pavilion for visitors to read during the Pavilion’s second exhibition Galleria del Vento July 8th– August 13th.

You gotta say yes to another access

HenkSlager-JanKaila_blogiin

 

The current rhetoric of the Open Access project – as put down i.a. in the Berlin Declaration – seems to want to answer the mechanism of exclusion intrinsic to the academic system of publishing. In their article “The Political Nature of the Book” (2013) Janneke Adema and Gary Hall draw an interesting parallel with the way artists in the 1960s confronted the commodification-oriented gallery system by opposing it with a new form of experimentation – using the book as a democratic medium. Similarly, over the past decade the potential of digital publishing has been presented in the scholarly world as medium-specific possibilities to develop counter-institutional forms of dissemination. An overall academic optimism arose: open access would achieve the complete accessibility of research results and thus – in the spirit of the current state of the democracy – break down the boundaries between the academic community and the rest of society.

This optimism, however, was almost immediately framed by the rhetoric of the neoliberal agenda: research should constantly be measured by the yardstick of transparency, accountability, discoverability, usability and efficiency. The net result was the emergence of a culture of peer-reviewed journal articles. A form of publishing that neatly copied the quality control procedures and the preservation structures of the profit-driven academic publishing houses. A form of publishing also that ultimately tried to exclude any form of experimentation for the sake of maintaining the confidence of the academic community.

How should artistic research relate to this development? Should it be, in the spirit of this form of research, a critical, self-reflexive, processual, non-goal oriented way of thinking about dissemination? How can such a form of conceptual openness be peer-reviewed? Does artistic research perhaps need a recalibration or a revision of the assessment criteria (such as relevance, ground breaking, originality, ambition, risk, topicality, beyond the state of art, scientific approach, suitability of methods, feasibility, broader impact). And ultimately, does it have the ability to question the radicalism of Access anew?

Jan Kaila and Henk Slager

This text is a curators’ statement that will also be present in the Research Pavilion for visitors to read.

Word from Commissioner Anita Seppä

AnitaSeppä_01_2_3_620

Uniarts Helsinki’s Research Pavilion for artistic research opens its doors in Venice on 10 May, the same day as when the Venice Biennale opens. The Pavilion’s venue Sala del Camino, a beautiful ex-monastery located in the Island of Giudecca, is an ideal place for art exhibitions, as well as workshops, concerts, performances and artistic interventions. Just on the other side of the Canal lies Giardini, the heart of the Biennale, with its energetic art tourists and souvenir shoppers. The island of Giudecca that’s surrounding the Research Pavilion, on the other hand, has a very different atmosphere: it is characteristically domestic and quiet.

Two years ago, in this uniquely rich cultural environment we hosted the first Research Pavilion under the theme Experimentality. The Pavilion for 2017 builds off of that, but also presents a radically new concept. First of all, the Research Pavilion will be a distinctly shared project, a joint effort set up by the talented people from all the academies of Uniarts Helsinki: the Academy of Fine Arts, Sibelius Academy and Theatre Academy. As such, the Pavilion will extend its scope to cover not only fine arts, but also music, performing arts, dance and theatre.

Second, this year’s Research Pavilion has a strong Nordic presence. We have invited the central networks of artistic research in Sweden and Norway (altogether 22 arts institutions of higher education), and their representatives Ingrid Elam, Cecilie Broch Knudsen and Geir Strøm are members in our Scandinavian steering group. This group of experts serves as an advisory body in the project and will also contribute to future strategic planning. In this political climate, as new walls are built up on a daily basis to hinder free mobility and international cooperation around the globe, it feels especially important to intensify the cultural partnerships between our closest neighbours and other transnational networks.

During the summer of 2017, the Research Pavilion will host three art exhibitions, which also present new international forms of collaboration with the famed Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and Zurich University of the Arts. In addition, the tremendously interesting series of artistic research activities called Camino Events will bring over a hundred professionals and students from around the world to Venice as guests of Uniarts Helsinki.

The first exhibition in the Research Pavilion is You Gotta Say Yes to Another Access, which will give thirteen Nordic doctoral students the chance to work on this year’s theme of the Pavilion, the Utopia of Access. In July-August, Florian Dombois from Zurich University of the Arts will go to the lagoons of Venice on a boat with golden sails to collect material that he’ll use to build a wind tunnel in the Pavilion for his exhibition, Galleria del Vento. The final exhibition Hauntopia/what if features works by doctoral students from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. They will study traces of “ghosts” of the past and their effects on both the present time and our utopias of the future.

The Research Pavilion will articulate to an international audience how contemporary artistic researchers and researchers in the arts process topical questions and utilize fresh methodologies with respect to the theme Utopia of Access.  During the summer of 2017 we’ll see how experts of fine arts, music, dance, theatre, performing arts and curating produce art, research and pop-up events in the Pavilion and the surrounding urban space. Without a doubt the outcome will surprise us, in one way or another, as is to be expected when it comes to utopias.