Soundings 2 – Nordic Sound Art´s master exhibition at museum of contemporary arts in Roskilde, Denmark, April-May 2012.
Elin Øyen Vister works with found sounds. She collects sounds from both nature and urban environments. In the installation Soundscape Røst – The Listening Lounge, the listener is submerged in sounds of wave ripples and the twittering of birds. The sounds span from booming roars to the faintest of hums. They derive from the artist’s field recordings captured during the breeding season of 2010-11, on the outermost part of the Lofoten islands, in the Røst archipelago, now transmitted onto the turn table. The room is divided in two parts: A foyer and a listening lounge. The listening lounge offers the artist’s proposition of the ideal setting for listening. Totally secluded from the rest of the world the lounge provides the tranquility necessary to fully appreciate the atmosphere of the archipelago.
On the wall in the foajé. drawings from Røst by the Norwegian artist Theordor Kittelsen, are presented along with a map of the different islets from where the various recordings were collected. Here the artist has written short texts commenting on each recording, accompanied by her own voice in the adjacent headphones.
Some of the comments are personal anecdotes whereas others are mere facts about the uniqueness and concentration of birdlife on Røst.
Through the very personal and intimate interaction between the listener, the turntable, the drawings, the artist’s private accounts, and descriptions of the archipelago, Elin Øyen Vister seeks to communicate and share her own love for the remote place that Røst is.
The audience is kindly requested to enter the installation one at a time, administrated by a ticket booking system.
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The Listening lounge is an attempt to create a special situation in which the isolation and darkness help stimulate the very act of listening, hereby cultivate an emotional relation to the unique soundscape of Røst – and to Røst as such. The artist investigates the concepts of deep listening and sonic awareness in her work. These concepts describe the state of intensified acoustic awareness promoted through the listening lounge. The two concepts were originally coined by the American composer and sound artist, Pauline Oliveros. They describe the heightened sensibility in the perception of aural stimuli: We are aware of every detail and every tiny change. Consequently we bond emotionally with the sonic environment.Photo by Maria Laub. Copyright Museet for Samtidskunst i Roskilde. Additional photo by Photo by Christina Kubisch 2012.
Additional text by Christina Kubisch:
Soundscape Røst – The Listening Lounge
A vinyl record is the central item of the listening project of Elin Øyen Vister. It opens up a kind of acoustic, imaginary landscape which has been very carefully prepared by the artist.
Elin Øyen Vister knows a lot about the value of high standard technical equipment with all its details, and about the knowledge of recording, and she uses her knowledge in order to convince the public listening to nature and as well, to engage with nature. Or, better said, to the voices of nature
The long time series of field recordings from the Røst archipelago, have been done during different times and wheather conditions. Elin explains the origin of her sound recordings in the reception room: we listen to her voice while she is standing in the rain and lets the listener become part of this experience. She leads people carefully to a special listeing room, she donates them time and quietness. Time to concentrate on pure listeing in a room without any visual elements other than the record player. She transforms the simple act of listening into a personal performance, in which she takes part by explaining personally her work to each listener.
The artist considers herself an environmental activist, but she transforms her ideas and enthusiasm not trough a direct political statement, but through the connection to the ”original”. She does not hide the hardware, she uses the technique in favour of the natural environments, and shes uses it for the direct and best dialogue a person can have with nature: the feeling of being there: in the middle of the landscape of Røst with its incredible environment of bird sounds.
Her purpose to dedicate the next years in the research of the islands acoustic and the life of its inhabitants, will certainly lead to great results if she continues to maintain the balance between the original emotion and it´s transformations into sound art.
- Christina Kubisch, May 2012