To The Surface / Til overflaten

2021; Permanent 6 channel sound installation

This sound installation was initiated by Harald Solberg at Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall in 2019, and the premiere was in May 2021 under the new leadership of Tone Lyngstad Nyaas. Maja S. K. Ratkje has collected over 2100 single sound samples from the surroundings of the old mines and the modern walking bridge in the sculpture park Kunstarena Torbjørnsbu Gruver, which is a part of the art center.

The work plays with it’s surroundings, using local weather input (light, humidity, wind and temperature) measurements as variable parameters for the musical composition, so the sounding result becomes unique for each listening.

A three minutes long composition starts when audience enters the last platform of the walking bridge, where six speakers are mounted under the floor pointing towards the surrounding rock walls. The sound is reflected back to the audience, as if it is the steep rocks that sing themselves.

The weather parameters help deciding which sounds are to be selected from the more than 2000 samples in the sorted banks, with an intricate system of chance and composition of small musical gestures that can vary in tempo, number, pitch, dynamics or processes that make the sounds longer and loose their attack, where the aesthetics are that the music would illustrate or accompany how we perceive weather, bright light creating an impression of bright sounds, low temperature – less activity etc. From the smallest choice of single sounds to general shaping of the form.

The work is made with help from Notam (Norwegian centre for technology, art and music). Programming as well as design of weather sensors is executed by Thom Johansen.

The walking bridge through the sculpture park at Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall.
The composer at the end platform of the walking bridge.
Thom Johansen under the bridge.
The platform from below.
The weather station, with sensors measuring wind, temperature, humidity and light.

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