REFRAMING REALITY: Glimpses into the Lowave video archive

On November 20th an exhibition opens at Museet for Samtidskunst in Roskilde, Denmark, showing works from the french DVD label Lowave´s archive.

I released my Cityscapes on their label in 2005, which will be part of the exhibition.

From the Museum´s website:

“This exhibition gathers for the first time in Denmark a number of videos from the Lowave’s growing archive and provides an insight into the vibrant world of contemporary artistic creations. From the groundbreaking RESISTANCE (S)-anthologies, which put into perspective thematic video art from the Middle East and North Africa to the urban landscapes where man almost dissolves like in HC Gilje’s CITYSCAPES or videos in the CITY2CITY collection, the exhibition highlights unknown affinities and underlying trends in the way video artists from around the world are still experimenting with the medium.”

The exhibition runs until 27.02.2011.

However, since I currently have a solo exhibition at Galleri 21 (more about that later when I am finished with the documentation. If you are really impatient, you can see a slideshow from one of the installations) in Malmö which runs until December 5th, this is a perfect opportunity to catch both exhibitions, as they are only a short trainride from each other.

Mark and Silke at Lowave have provided many opportunities for screenings of my work at various festivals and venues, for instance at Cinemateque Française and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Currently one of my videos is part of Verticapolis, La Festival Image de Ville in Aix-en-Provence:

“CITY2CITY – VERTICAL EXPERIENCES presents 8 international artists all working on urban subjects and in particular the verticality of architecture in our global cities. These films offer a new way of appreciating the urban aesthetics as they are perceived by today’s cutting edge video artists and experimental filmmakers. Featuring: HC Gilje, Augustin Gimel, Nicolas Provost, Nose Chan, Kentaro Taki, Toby Cornish, Kotaro Tanaka, Franck Dudouet & Aldolph Kaplan.”

puls

light installation in the Fantoft-Paradis tunnel in Bergen, commissioned for the new metroline Bybanen which opened in end of june 2010.

The installation consists of two long wave patterns of light, one side red-white, the other blue-white. The total length is about 400m. The two wave patterns overlap, so for about 100 m you will see both the red and blue pulse. The material used is neon rope light.

Together with Marius Watz I was invited to make either a light or video work for one of the tunnels for the new Bybanen metroline in Bergen. You can see some images from Marius´ installation here.

I wanted to work with the fact that the train is moving at about 70km/h (about 20m/s) through the tunnel, using the movement of the train as a way of animating the two wave patterns mounted on the tunnel walls.

There were some interesting challenges to this project, as the installation was supposed to be ready for the opening of Bybanen in end of june. This meant I had to send in the proposal for the installation before the trains started to run. I ended up making an animation of some simple waveforms in Processing, which gave a pretty good impression of how this would be experienced when sitting in the train.

There are a lot of factors influencing how the work is experienced.  If you sit by the window closest to the tunnel wall the wave breaks up into rapidly changing curves and lines. If you sit closer to the middle of the tunnel you will see longer stretches of the wave. You will also see reflections of the waves in the windows of the train.

One thing I don´t have control over is the light inside the train, which is really bright. This dimishes the effect of the neon rope light washing the tunnel in different blends of blue, red and white (and potentially casting coloured shadows of the passengers onto the tunnel wall). Thus the installation exists in two different modes: The tunnel as a light modulator which can only be experienced when being inside the tunnel without any trains, or as animated wave pulses when riding the train through the tunnel.

on top of the opera

An outdoor event on the roof of the opera house in Oslo, with two short concerts using video projection.
This was a projected iniated by electric violinist Victoria Johnson, which is currently a research fellow at the National State Academy of Music in Oslo.

The white marble opera house designed by Snøhetta has become one of the main tourist attractions in Oslo, with a nice view over the harbour and the city. It is almost like a iceberg that you can climb onto.

Standing on the roof, listening to the sounds of sirens and seeing something which could almost be a skyline (actually 90% of the tall buildings in Oslo are just behind the opera house), you could get the impression that Oslo is actually a big city!

opera_snohetta

In short, a quite spectacular setting.
The concert consisted of two compositions by Knut Vaage, Electra and multimorf, performed by Johnson and Thorolf Thuestad. Ellen Røed has made a beautiful volcano timelapse video for Electra, and I did a live impro video for multimorf.


We decided to do the concert in front of one of the walls of the stage tower, which is about 30x15m. We managed to cover one half of the wall, using a 15000 ansilumen projector.

We have performed multimorf twice before, in very different contexts: First with a big brassband at a concert venue in Bergen, then a stripped down version for electric violin,electronics and live video at the Concert Hall in Oslo. My video has changed from venue to venue, trying to adopt to the setting. The only connection between the three performances is a series of microscope images from brass instruments, which I made for the original version.
For the outdoor concert on the opera roof I wanted to have a more direct relation to the surface we projected onto, a beautiful aluminum wall with a relief pattern made by the artists Løvaas & Wagle.
The 30x15m wall consists of panels of the relief patterns and I decided to use my videoprojection tools software to mask rows and columns of these panels.

Working outside with a short timeframe means a lot of practical issues needs to be solved, and this left very little time for my slightly ambitious masking project.
It gets dark quite late in Norway in the spring, so the concert was to start at ten in the evening. Only at around nine was I able to see enough of the projection to actually start masking the image, so everything needed to be done in less than an hour. On top of this it was freezing, so I was literally shaking while I was trying to do very precise masking.

In the end, it turned out quite nice, and triggered some ideas for a project I am planning to do next year.

All photos from multimorf and of me is taken by Ellen Røed, thanks!

more images from the event.

lights out?

Park, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

I am not the most efficient blogger I have to admit, but its been a very busy period the last 2 months. Here is a short summary of my activities, I will elaborate on some of them in later posts:

After the opening of the wind-up birds in end of august I organised the seminar Conversations with spaces at Bergen Kunsthall Landmark, which was a success. I will most likely get the chance to see the work of two of the speakers, Lawrence Malstaf and Kirsten Dehlholm in november in Holland.

Straight after the seminar I went to New York, mainly to follow the conflux festival, but also to catch up with some people. I went to Kurt Ralske´s closing day of his show at the MFA Computer Art Gallery, I was at the opening of Luc deBois´ exhibition at bitforms, I saw Olafur Eliassons huge rotating mirror at PS1 and his waterfalls, the Buckministerfuller show at moma.
I hung out with Keiko Uenishi (oblaat) at conflux and share, Eric Redlinger showed me the mrmr application, Carrie Dashow explained her concept of live video editing for multiple cameras.
I had planned to get in touch with Eyebeam, but after two months of not answering my emails I gave up. 

The next two weeks I spent in a monastery cell of the grey brothers in Roskilde, Denmark, preparing for my installation Shift at Museet for Samtidskunst. It is part of a show called Total Aktion (on until christmas).

On my way back from Denmark I met the wind-up birds who had settled down at the airport in Oslo, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the airport.

Right after that some of them flew to Morocco, which is where I spent the last week as well. This was part of the Brussels biennale.

UT-21: polish norwegian art project

UT-21 is an art project that invites 7 Polish and 7 Norwegian artists to work in Lillehammer- Norway, outside galleries and Museums.
The name UT-21 reflects two things:

  • UT can simply mean ”out” (of the Museum) or ”without title”

  • 21 refers to the fact that in 1987 there was a similar art project in Lillehammer with Polish and Norwegian artists and that in 2008 it will be 21 years since this took place.

‘UT-21’ presents interventionistic art which comprises land art, urban interventions etc. Interventionistic art means art projects which in one way or another include or reflect the physic, social or mental structures associated to a special place. The works are often characterized by being temporary and procedural. Points of contact with daily life and the surroundings we all relate to in a close and natural way, the landscape and the urban environment, may enable the communication between the work of art and the observer to become both more unpredictable and immediate than an encounter with art in a traditional setting. We want to create an exciting and intensive meeting between art and public, between art from Poland and Norway, in the tradition art outside galleries, in 2008 in Lillehammer.

Participating artists:

Jan Berdyszak, Teresa Murak, Janusz Baldyga, Egil Martin Kundøl, Marit Arnekleiv, Leszek Golec, Tatiana Czekalska, Marte Aas, HC Gilje, Elzbieta Jablonska, Anna Widén, Oskar Dawicki, Maciej Kurak, Maksymilian Skorwider, Grim Erland Lyng Svingen, Victoria Pihl Lind.

Images of some of the projects

the UT-21 website

Maxwell city soundtrack

Maxwell city day 2-3 8, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

As I promised a year ago in the post about the Maxwell city workshop, I edited together a track using material from all the participants of the workshop into a 20 minutes soundtrack, which was originally made for a radio broadcast for the ctrl_alt_del sound art festival in 2007.
So, finally available, the maxwell city soundtrack.

soundpocket 2: extremely local radio stations

soundpockets 2 illustration, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

This was the second project I made for urban interface oslo fall 2007.

I collected a library of field recordings I have made over the years. I set up an internet radio station for the project (using Nicecast), and played with different configurations mixing music and the field recordings, but ended up just using my own recordings.
I thought it could be interesting to stream internet radio, a global media, to very specific local areas. I found three locations in Oslo which would serve as the local radio stations. They were somehow connected to a clear visible cue in that location: A huge oak tree, a small sculpture, and a small pound in the roundabout. The range of the local stations would more or less correspond to these visual cues: If you saw them you would be able to pick up the signal from the radio stations. In numbers this would mean a range of 30-100 meters.
My original plan was to use the fm-senders for mp3 players which are mostly meant to be used to listen to the mp3 player through the car radio. This was partly because I was experimenting with solar energy as energy source, and because they were cheap. The range and quality of the signal wasnt good enough though, so I ended up getting the more powerful aareff fm transmitters .
The senders were placed with friendly hosts, letting me use their internet connection to pick up the internet radio stream.

The result was three very local radio stations sending out a continous soundtrack from other locations, so somehow these recorded locations came in dialogue with the physical locations of the radio stations.
The listening involved active participation from the public as you would need to tune in on your own radio to pick up the broadcast.

Soundpockets is a series of projects of intimate sound interventions in public spaces. By using fm radiowaves, soundbeams and miniature speakers to create local pockets of sound, the different projects have different scope and focus: creating private listening rooms, changing soundtracks of a location, displacement of time/or space and a bit of general disruption of everyday life.

Soundpocket 1: disturbing the soundscape

ingensgate07.jpg

I made Soundpocket 1 as part of the exhibition urban interface oslo fall 2007.
From urban interface oslo blog:
“Hauntings? Dimension Doors? Time tunnels?
A boy heard what appeared to be the sound of a sheep coming from the wall of Strykejernet Art School.
A bartender at Blå was concerned when he heard running water like that from a leaking water pipe. The sound disappeared before he was able to locate it.
A seagull can be heard, but is nowhere to be seen.
Soundpocket artist HC Gilje is causing slight disturbances in the urban interfaces.”


Using a directional soundbeam to project a localized sound into a public space, this sound being only heard by the people within the sound beam which can be as narrow as 50 cm in diameter. It is similar to a lightbeam, only being sound instead. When it hits a surface it is reflected.
Soundpocket 1 was installed in a narrow passageway in Oslo, connecting two parts of the city. The soundbeam was mounted on a pan/tilt head making it possible to place the sounds very precisely in the passageway.


By bouncing the sound off surfaces, it seems as if the sound is coming from a window, door, elevator, a poster on the wall or just a more general presence. This made the piece into something which added another layer of sound to the existing soundscape, blending (sometimes disappearing) into the location.
Most of the sounds would appear to belong to the site, although dislocated (like the sound of the chandelier in the wind), the sounds of birds, telephones, babies crying, dogs barking, water running etc.

It was interesting to see how the piece was received. It was obvious for me that it wouldnt work very well as a typical art piece, it has a much more interventionist nature. I wanted it to be slight distortions to the regular soundscape of the passageway, and was pleased to see that the people who used this passageway regularly were noticing these disturbances. This could be described using the first of Barthes´ three listening modes: hearing involves “evaluation of the spatio-temporal situation“ and thus, it is linked to a “notion of territory“. It places the listener on alert when new sounds which dont´t “fit in” are heard.
By adding an extra layer of sound if also made people focus on the sounds which were already there.

The inspiration from this comes from when I studied in Trondheim in the 90ies, and I heard some stories about how a directional speaker had been used to cause a certain distress on a bridge over the local river: A person walking alone across the bridge suddenly hear whispering voices. An out of tune clarinet is projected into a marching band playing on the 17th of may (Norway´s national holiday).
If these stories are true or not, doesnt really matter, it is the idea of having a private experience in a public space which intrigued me.

Soundpockets is a series of projects of intimate sound interventions in public spaces. By using fm radiowaves, soundbeams and miniature speakers to create local pockets of sound, the different projects have different scope and focus: creating private listening rooms, changing soundtracks of a location, displacement of time/or space and a bit of general disruption of everyday life.

Backjumps – the Live Issue #3

Backjumps – the Live Issue #3 03, originally uploaded by hc gilje.

I was back in Berlin for a week in beginning of july, and got the chance to see the excellent exhibition BackJumps -the Live issue #3, which cover new and recent street art works in Germany and the rest of the world. It was partly a exhibition using the huge space at Kunstraum Bethanien, and partly documentation of work from urban spaces. I saw many interesting projects, but will mention two which relates directly to this project blog:
The first one is a animation shown on a monitor in a small room (see image). What´s interesting is that the animation was made on the walls in the same space and you see the trails of the animation on the walls. It is made by Bologna based Blu.
The other project was part of CubaBrasil, Los Berlin BeamBoys, which did huge video projections on buildings in Cuba, partly as a way of bypassing the censorship of certain political slogans and images.

Another useful link, reclaim your city .

I also picked up an interesting book at DAZ, Urban Pioneers: Temporary Use and Urban Development in Berlin. It just came out, but already some of the locations covered in the book have disappeared and been replaced by new buildings.

directional sound

May I Have Your attention, Please, originally uploaded by Mar.co.

I am doing a series of projects called soundpockets for urban interface oslo, which in different ways tries to create pockets of sound in public space. Some of the versions involve the fm sender- mp3 setup mentioned in the previous post, another one involves a directional speaker mounted on a pan/tilt unit, and this has been my second headache this summer, finding a controllable pan/tilt unit which is reasonably fast, which can handle a load of a few kilos and which is not ridiculously expensive.

Fortunately I have had good help from Soundscape studios. The first ideas was to use a existing movinghead light and refit it with the speaker, but it turned out that the motors wouldnt be able to handle the load. Pan tilt units are usually made for a specific purpose, either light or video, and the few ones which are available for general purpose use and which are controllable are very expensive.
The one we have ended up with is quite expensive, but is controlled using serial protocol, is made for outdoor use, and is powerful enough to handle video projectors (for later projects). It is also very fast, up to 300 degrees per second pan, and 60 degrees per second tilt. Hopefully it arrives next week.

The most ambitious plan is to control it using an arduino microcontroller, which will also control a serial-controllable mp3 player, the daisy, so I should be able to place sounds quite accurately in a space, and also create movements with sounds.
If time runs short I will use a macmini with max controlling the sound and pan-tilt unit over the serial port.

I have been testing two different models of directional speakers which uses ultrasound as the carrier signal, I will probably have to go for the smaller one, although I am a bit worried it will disappear in the ambient sound. It is also challenging to find the sounds which works best, and also how to deal with the sounds both coming directly from the narrow beam of the speaker but also the reflections on surfaces in the space.

The inspiration for this projects comes from when I studied in Trondheim in the 90ies, and I heard some stories about how a directional speaker had been used to cause a certain distress on a bridge over the local river: A person walking alone across the bridge suddenly hearing whispering voices. An out of tune clarinet projected into a marching band playing on the 17th of may (Norway´s national holiday).
If these stories are true or not, doesn´t really matter, it is the idea of having a private experience in a public space which intrigued me.

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