1/10/19

The Atmospherics 8 (river deep, mountain high) at Entrée, Bergen

7.2 —17.2, 2019

Markeveien 4B, 5012 Bergen, Norway


Trond Lossius
Jeremy Welsh
The Atmospherics 
River deep, mountain high



The Atmospherics is one of the ongoing collaborative projects of Trond Lossius and Jeremy Welsh. Through field recordings they capture unique qualities from different natural landscapes and urban areas. The recorded audio and video material is then filtered, edited, modified and mixed to highlight some characters or to mute others. The intention is not to document the sites, but rather to build a database of audiovisual material that is combined in different ways in their installations, where each assembly becomes a "temporary place", constructed of impulses from different geographical areas.

Since 2014, the project has moved from Bergen, Trondheim, Arendal, Førde, Utne and Campania, Italy, where it has been presented in various installations with multi-screen video and multi-channel audio. The new video adapted to the cinema format, which premieres at Entrée, summarizes this entire project, and combines material from all the different phases and parts of the country.

Lossius and Welsh have collaborated in various situations and combinations since 2004. Together with the painter Jon Arne Mogstad, in the group LMW, they produced a series of experimental installations that combined sound, digital images and painting. Lossius and Welsh were also leading the artistic research project "Re: place" at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design in 2012-2013.

Jeremy Welsh (b. 1954, Gateshead, UK) lives between Trondheim and Bergen. He works within video, installation, photography, audio and performance. He is a professor of visual arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Trondheim, NTNU. He was a former professor, master coordinator and dean at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design (2001-2013), and founder and curator at The Film & Video Umbrella, London (1988-1990). His education is from Nottingham Trent University (1977) Goldsmith’s College, University of London (1982). His works have been included in several national and international collections, like the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Trondheim Art Museum, Arts Council Norway, ZKM Media Center (Karlsruhe) and MacQuarie University Art Collection in Sydney.

Trond Lossius (b. 1966, Bergen) lives between Oslo and Sotra. His projects investigate sound, place and space, using sound spatialisation and multichannel audio as an invisible and temporal sculptural medium in works engaging with the site. He has collaborated on a large number of cross-disciplinary projects, amongst others with the contemporary performance group Verdensteatret.He graduated with a Master degree in Geophysics from the University of Bergen and went on to study music and composition at The Grieg Academy. From 2003-2007 he was a research fellow at Bergen National Academy of the Arts. Lossius is currently Head of Artistic Research and Fellowship Programme at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. He is one of the developers of the software framework Jamoma, and he has ported Ambisonic Toolkit to a set of plugins for the Reaper DAW.


Trond Lossius and Jeremy Welsh have received support for The Atmospherics from Arts Council Norway, Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond, Municipality of Bergen, Municipality of Trondheim, BEK (Bergen Center for Electronic Art), Sogn and Fjordane Art Museum and NTNU / Art Academy in Trondheim.

Hardangerfjord / Odda, October 2014

1/1/19

Year's end 2018

That was it, 2018 is over already! It is a truism that the years seems to pass more quickly as we get older, and it is also the case that an action-packed year can seem shorter than a year in which nothing seems to happen.

So here is a brief summary of activities in 2018, with links, where appropriate, to works that are published online. It has been a year in which collaborations with musicians has been the main focus of my work, ranging from the University of Agder research project "Music Without Borders" focussing on exchanges between Norwegian and international folk musics, to a recent series of films with contrabass maestro Michael Francis Duch, performing solo works by contemporary composers.

In March I organised the workshop "e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d" at Surnadal Billag with the participation of artists and musicians Ellen Røed, Craig Wells, Nazaré Soares, Magdalena Manderlova, Jørgen Wassvik, Michael Francis Duch and Sigurd Saue. During five intensive days the group, in various configurations, developed a series of site-specific interventions, installations and performances, some of which have subsequently been further refined and exhibited or performed. Together with Craig Wells I produced the audio visual work Sun Bi Lag (video projection with four channel audio) which was later exhibited at Joy Forum, Bergen, in November.


Sun Bi Lag - installation at Joy Forum, KMD, Bergen. HD projection with four channels of digital audio


Still from Sun Bi Lag

Also in March, an installation based on an earlier live work with Michael Francis Duch was exhibited at Kunstgarasjen, Bergen, during this year's Borealis festival of experimental music. The work consists of four projections and two channels of audio



During the year three new films were made with Michael Francis Duch, each of them a solo performance on double bass, of works by three composers: Hanne Darboven (Opus 17a) Pauline Oliveros (Horse Sings from Cloud) and Michael Pisaro (Mind is Moving IV). The first in the seruies, Opus 17a, was featured in the exhibition Double Lives: Visual Artists Making Music at MUMOK, the museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Vienna

All three films have now been published on Vimeo, links below:





A long standing collaboration with Trond Lossius (sound) and Jon Arne Mogstad (painting) was revived in summer 2018 for the installation (By painting) I Can Travel Light Years at Surnadal Billag. The installation consisted of a large-scale wall painting and several canvasses, digital slide and video projections and four channels of audio. See link to documentation video below.


Light Years, at Surnadal Billag June/July 2018

I also collaborated with Jon Arne Mogstad in another context in the summer of 2018, as curator for his solo exhibition at Trondheim Art Museum: It's Painting Today (just like any other day). The show, featuring paintings from the past five years, ran from mid June until late September.

Jon Arne Mogstad paintings at Trondheim Art Museum, Gråmølna, June 2018

Next up, in February 2019, is a show at Entrée, Bergen, of the latest, and perhaps final, instalment of The Atmospherics, the collaborative project with Trond Lossius that has been ongoing since 2014. The previous work in the series, The Atmospherics 7: Terra Nova, was produced during Liminaria, an international sound art workshop and festival in Campania, Italy in September 2017. The work was shown again in Southern Italy as part of Happy Earth Day in summer 2018. When first shown, as a live performance, the work consisted of an outdoor video projection with four channels of audio. It was subsequently re-edited for stereo sound and is published in this form on Vimeo. The work for Entrée, The Atmospherics 8 (river deep, mountain high) will be a single screen 4K projection featuring material generated throughout the three year duration of the project.



Terra Nova, Arpaise, location of the Liminaria festival, 2017



11/23/18

Saunders, Parkinson, Duch: concert in Trondheim

Video documentation of a concert at Teater Avant Garden, Trondheim, on 31 October 2018. Two works by British composers James Saunders and Tim Parkinson, performed together with Michael Francis Duch and Trondheim Bass Orchestra. Each of the pieces performed is approximately 30 minutes long.

https://vimeo.com/jewelsh/spd



9/16/18

Lofoten Sound Art Symposium

From 6 - 9 September I attended the Lofoten Sound Art Symposium in Henningsvær. What follows is a short report, some observations, and a photographic record of parts of the symposium. 

The whole event commenced in Svolvær with a network meeting where participants introduced themselves, their organisations and their activities. It became immediately apparent that diversity was the main characteristic of the gathering, both in terms of nationalities (if not ethnicities) and practices. The meeting was combined with the first meal of the symposium, courtesy of artist-chef Øyvind Novak Jensen, ably assisted by two local cooks. They kept the audience well-fed throughout the four days of the symposium!

The first day concluded with a spellbinding performance, Wind Speaker/Language Memory, by Espen Sommer Eide, on a rocky promontory at the edge of the Henningsvær peninsula. Using one of the instruments he builds himself, he played sounds of a dead or dying Sami language, while moving slowly in a circle around a bonfire lit on a former military gun emplacement. 

The second day, Friday 7th. September, began with the first lecture of the symposium, by Christian Blom, director of NOTAM (The Norwegian center for Art, Technology and Music) in Oslo. The title of his talk was "Norwegian Sound Art Today" and he did indeed present some examples of recent work produced in Norway, but the main focus of his presentation was the problematic and marginal status of sound art in relation to both the musical establishment and the visual art world. He berated the Musical Academy for its failure to recognise sound art as a legitimate extension of avant-garde and experimental music practices, while also castigating the Art Academy for not seriously incorporating sound studies into its curriculum. His polemical point was "Sound Art is Experimental Music" - a position with which one could partially agree, but it is not as simple as that. While many practitioners in the Sound Art field do indeed come from a musical background and operate at least in an intermediary space between Music and Fine Art, there are also many who are nominally non-musicians and whose background may be in sculpture, installation, performance, video and other areas of contemporary visual art. However, by at least laying down a marker and making a sort of territorial claim, Blom introduced an important point for discussion, the need for which became ever more apparent as the programme unfolded. It was not so much that there was a lack of a definition for what sound art is or can be, rather that there were simply too many definitions to make a serious, discursive inquiry a possibility. Despite the fact that there exists a considerable body of theoretical and art-historical work on sound art, which should help in clarifying definitions, the terrain here departed radically from the theoretical map, and the notion of sound art became a placeholder into which one could insert a dizzying array of sonic practices ranging from academic electronic music, through underground techno culture, to conceptual audio sculpture and performance.

I left the symposium with a clear sense that some tidying-up in definitions would be helpful in terms of building a critical language around sound art practices within the Norwegian / Nordic milieu. I also had a strong sense that the history of these practices, at least in Norway and Sweden (if not so in Finland, where MUU have made signifcant efforts to document and archive) is fragmentary, indeed almost invisible. Key figures from the recent past seem to be overlooked or ignored, while many contemporary practitioners seem not to be as widely recognised as their work merits. A point that was raised at several junctures during the symposium was the apparent lack of women artists who could be written into this history - paradoxical here in Norway where many of the most significant sound artists are in fact women. To mention only a few, Jana Winderen, Camille Norment, Maia Urstad, Natasha Barratt or Signe Lidén would be representative of the  growing number of accomplished female artists in Norway whose work is wholly or largely based on sound. Of those women artists in Norway who have a long-standing and significant sound art practice, Siri Austeen was the sole representative in the symposium's lecture programme, while Yngvild Færøy and Søssa Jørgensen, who have collaborated on a range of audio projects including radio and podcasts for two decades, were also present as documenters/podcasters.

In addition to the daytime lectures and presentations, the evening programme featured numerous performances by sound artists and (mostly) electronic musicians. Indeed, the preponderance of electronic / tabletop / laptop performance might lead one to believe that sound art per se is a purely digital practice. It was refreshing, therefore, to hear the performance of the Fermented Subjects Orchestra (Arne Skaug Olsen and Anders Dahl Monsen) whose sound work was 100% analog and electricity-free, consisting solely of sounds produced by the gases given off by fermenting liquids. Using several fermentation bins, meters of plastic tubing, and a set of valves to control the flow of gases, they constructed a kind of pipe organ that surrounded the audience in a semi-derelict space at the top of Trevarefabrikken. This led me to consider the deep roots of sound art in sonic practices that entirely pre-date formal musical history, but belong to the early periods of human cultural history. I would guess that it all begins with two categories of sound: vocal utterances and sounds made by striking one object with another.

The symposium programme continued on Saturday 8th. September with several more talks and performances. The undoubted highlight for me, in terms of an intellectually challenging lecture, came from Raviv Ganchrow, an artist/engineer/academic from the department of Sonology at the university of Den Haag. Exploring regions of sound that exist beyond the scope of human aural perception, particularly infra-sound at extremely low frequencies, he gave a fascinating account of the omnipresence of sound waves as a fundamental part of the geological environment. Cagean notions about (the absence of) silence were, for my part, subject to a radical revision. Ganchrow's own projects evidenced a highly advanced understanding of the sonic in all its forms, linked to a rigorous conceptual framework that also forced us to question our many received notions of "site" and "place" - terms that are often central to our understanding of sound art practices.

The symposium offered insights into many other ideas and artistic endeavours, too numerous to describe in this short summary. Perhaps its greatest success, happily reinforced by the beautiful late summer weather, was a striking congeniality and the opportunities it offered for relaxed networking in a stimulating environment. For those of us with a strong interest in Sound Art, whether as practitioners, curators, educators or researchers, there is clearly a great need for more events of this kind, to supplement the fora offered by existing events and festivals such as Borealis, Ultima and Only Connect and the exhibitions promoted by Lydgalleriet and Atelier Nord ANX among others.


Svolvær

In Svolvær, introduction to the programme, with curator Karolin Tampere and director Svein Ingvoll Pedersen of the North Norwegian Arts Center and Stefan Klaverdal of CY Contemporary, Malmo.

Henningsvær - performance the first night by Espen Sommer Eide

First speaker at the symposium, Christian Blom, director of NOTAM, Oslo

Andres Lõo on Estonian Sound Art

Stefan Klaverdal on Swedish Sound Art

Rita Lepiniemi and Timo Soppela, MUU, Helsinki

Kulturribingo, Oulu

Raviv Ganchrow on "Denaturalised Hearing"

Makiko Yamamoto, communing with plant

Makiko Yamamoto - banana concrete poetry

Tine Surel Lange, cello installation outside Treværefabrikken

Alessandro Perini, composer & sound  artist from Italy

Siri Austeen on Lyder som Nordland (Sounds like Nordland)

Espen Sommer Eide again, this time performing as Phonophani.

8/28/18

Lost, Abandoned, Discarded or Forgotten

Lost, Abandoned, Discarded or Forgotten is a new blog based around photographs of abandoned items observed in the environment.

This is a blog devoted to photographs of stuff that people leave lying about - lost, abandonded, discarded or simply forgotten.

I have been documenting these phenomena for about twenty years, first with analog, then with digital cameras. The archive of images grows continuously and the problem has always been - what to do with all of these photographs?

I am interested in what they tell us about our relationship to objects and to the material world. I am also interested in how these things change when dissociated from their usual context. Paradox and poetry emerge.

An early phase of the process involved documenting plastic mineral water bottles that had been discarded in forests, on beaches, on mountainsides, and otherwise in the natural environment. I was struck by the disconnect between the idea of bottled mineral water as something health-giving, and the thoughtless act of leaving large amounts of non-destructible plastic in the landscape. A selection of these images were exhibited within the international art project Overtures Am Wasser which took place in Munich in 2004.

Other themes or sub-categories include; submerged bicycles and shopping carts; tv sets and computer monitors; items of clothing.




6/30/18

I Can Travel Light Years

I Can Travel Light Years: a new installation by LMW (Lossius Mogstad Welsh) showing at Surnadal Billag during Øramartna 2018. This is the groupo's first collective project since 2010, when they showed the installation Please Note After Image at KODE 2, Bergen Kunsthall. The new work combines a large-scale wall painting and one painted canvas with four channels of sound and three video projections.

Images below from the final phase of installing. The installation is open on 30 June and 1 July.




6/15/18

It's Painting Today (just like any other day)

It's Painting Today (just like any other day)

An exhibition by Jon Arne Mogstad, curated by Jeremy Welsh

Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Gråmølna
16 June - 30 September 2018.


Installation shot from the main gallery


It paints today and today it’s all about painting. And more.  Jon Arne Mogstad has recently retired as Professor of Painting at Trondheim Academy of Fine Art and this exhibition will be both a summary of his artistic practice and a tribute to his many years as mentor to new generations of artists. 

Painting is the core of Mogstad’s practice, but he is certainly not a monolinear artist. As a new;ly educated  painter from the Oslo Art Academy in the early eighties he was a member of the artist group Lambretta whose agenda would seem to be to explode all boundaries for artistic practice. Installation, performance and video were part of a practice that would now be referred to as painting in the expanded field. After several years of intensive experimentation with the Lambretta group, Mogstad began to concentrate on his own painting and exhibited frequently at the Oslo space Galleri K. In the early nineties he began to teach at the Trondheim Academy, and from 2004 - 2011 he was Professor of Painting at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, before returning to Trondheim as institute leader and professor.

Between 2004 and 2011 Jon Arne Mogstad was part of the collaborative project LMW (Lossius, Mogstad, Welsh) which produced a series of installations combining painting with video, electronic mages and sound. The group’s projects took place in a variety of locations ranging from the Quart Festival in Kristiansand to KODE, Bergen Art Museum. During the same period, Mogstad and Welsh collaborated on two large commissioned projects for Halden Prison and for the Norwegian Postal Service’s distribution terminal in Lørenskog. Public commissions have over a long period been an integral part of Mogstad’s practice and he has realized large-scale projects for, among others, Telenor Fornebu, Drammen University College and St. Olavs Hospital, Trondheim.

Although he has traversed the boundaries of many different media, painting is central and always at the heart of Jon Arne  Mogstad’s artistic practice. But he is not a “clean” painter - he has constantly explored new possibilities and materials, new combinations of materials, and has been unafraid to combine elements of figuration and abstraction in his work. Since 2012 he has worked with textile colours on canvas, a process that has resulted in works that are, mildly put, explosive in coloration and energy. A combination of coincidence in the way that the fluid colour spreads itself on the canvas and precision in the overpainting with thin layers of white has resulted in some of his most poetic works in the series “Veils” from 2017. For this exhibition, Mogstad has also made a series of new paintings entitled “Rainbow Chaser”, and two of these are amongst the largest works he has created. As the first and last paintings one encounters in the exhibition, these two large canvasses function as a sort of frame for the whole. They are powerful works that have a presence which adresses the viewer both visually and bodily.


With a main focus on paintings from the last few years, the exhibition will map a number of different tendencies in Jon Arne Mogstad’s artistic practice, and at the same time point forward for an artist who has never ceased to experiment and explore. The contemporary art discourse is often coloured by references to “artistic research”, a term that can be read in many different ways. But for Mogstad the central research question has always been: what painting is, what painting has been and what painting can become. Not a redundant question in a contemporary art world where painting has repeatedly been declare dead, but comes repeatedly back with renewed vigour and relevance. Mogstad is an artist with a deep knowledge of painting - its history and its material fundament - and a facility for combining references and tendencies from various periods in art history. American modernist abstraction from the mid 20th. century may be the greatest influence on his work , but he also takes inspiration from popular culture and from older periods of art history, especially the renaissance. His reinterpretation of motives from modernist abstraction is no nostalgic gesture, and at the same time one can not place his practice within the category of post modernism. But one can perhaps describe the painter Mogstad as a “dirty modernist”.