CABINET // Invisible Cities: An Interview with Christina Kubisch
christina kubisch - On Air - MELANIA PRODUCTIONS - Electronic. town of Gargonza in Tuscany, On Air was a part of Christina Kubisch's series of sound art pieces concerned with electromagnetic Recorded at the author's studio and at Studio RDS, Milano Recording date: February-March Cocoon Crush (2 LP). Christina Kubisch, one of the most important sound artists on the European scene, sound and light are for the artist two interlaced elements, so that the first can be The oldest sounds (trams, train stations), the ones dating back to the last. chriStiNa kUBiSch chriStoph cox It was kind of tiring to have these cubes in your hands all the To date, Kubisch has undertaken her own personal headphones got a bit broken. Some of the best ones are the At two points, you hear voices.
In the country, there Do you have plans to develop this work? They make very beautiful, very dense sounds. But, of course, if you want to have a cities and continents.
In a large city, for example, where are quick walk and a lot of direct information, then a shopping the electromagnetic fields?
Where are the security gates? You could just mark them with little dots. They even have the same sound systems all over the world. This is something that I think would be very pant is a creator who makes his or her own mix. In electron- research, too. And every screen has a different sound. Or sometimes you have to stop and do nothing. Light advertisement in Sendai, Japan 2.
Post office in Bremen, Germany; likely pass your way? Subway in Taiwan, China 4. Between two security gates at the entrance of a shop; location unknown 5. Minicomputer at the Zentrum Yes.
Sometimes sig- Germany; source unknown 7. Tram in Bratislava, Slovakia 8. Electrical nals come for just a short time. So the sounds that I find may transformer at a farm in Bavaria, Germany 9. Tram in Karlsruhe, Germany have disappeared by the time you get there, because the Thunderstorm in Bavaria, Germany Science Museum, London, England Sounds in an underground passage, London, England Security system in oxford, England Heathrow your work connects with the recent renewal of interest in Airport, London, England Light systems in Paris, France Security gate in Bremen, Germany What do you think accounts for this revival?
Security gate, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France Sometimes it was completely out of fashion; Security gate; location unknown Tram in Bratislava, Slovakia but now, as you say, it has become rather trendy. Electrical flame decorative object ; location unknown Paris, France; source unknown It was a very simple world. Maybe this is the fascina- England Turn to page I took this picture of an arrow the other day. Like stones and trees. Now turn to the last page in the book.
I used to collect these types of photographs from detective magazines … Put the book down now and go over to your window … I woke up really early this morning, this is what it sounded like then. Sit down again, I want to show you something else in the book. Please do, I can only recommend it. You need to reserve time to discover them. These are not projects that have the ambition to promote a city or a region.
They grew out of a necessity of artist and their artistic pratice. They do not have a commercial goal. These projects are reflections, contradictions, comments, raised questions, different points of listening, of view in relation to space, in case the city environment.
Please continue dear artists. Doing so is a stimulant to not be superficial, to go deeper. On Sunday 21 April the first two soundwalks for the new collection of sound walks for the city of Kortrijk will be premiered. The city went through a tremendous change. Blocks of houses were demolished since her first visit in They made place for a completely new commercial centre.
Curious to hear how she will deal with this. The sounds of two totally different cities merged in a field recording composition and was distributed at the entrance gate of the Kortrijk beguinage. These will form a spiral on the city map.
A spiral that leads you out of town, or inverse, that brings you from the outskirts to the centre. Oh yes, these walks will be available in a permanent way from 21 April onwards. They will be made available to the audience via … the tourist office. It all happened on the first three days of November … [ 2nd day: Sound, of course, we have always known to be vibrational in nature. In order for sound to be, some thing has to move.
All that sounds, moves; all that moves, sounds. And sound, in a very literal sense, moves us. Due to the explosive combination of technological developments, that enabled both the capturing recording and re- creation synthesis of whatever sound one could imagine, and the profound socio-cultural changes in the West in the decades following the Second World War, the idea that potentially any sound is a musical sound took firm hold on the music side.
Meanwhile visual artists continued to free themselves from the laws, traditions, conventions, materials and techniques that for many centuries had defined art within the boundaries of a number of specialized crafts.
They began to adopt any imaginable material and non-material as a means for expression, and put it to use around, in, up, under and at any imaginable place. Sound is surely the most notable among these materials, as well as the most ephemeral one. Sound wants to be free. Sound is a liberator. Many doors did open. Sound art — either the one, the other or the other — became the theme of several major museal exhibitions.
Not so much to try, for an umpteenth time, to set boundaries to what Sound Art should be, and what it should not though this is a theme that proves pretty hard to avoidbut first of all to discuss and present questions related to the presentation, the documentation and the conservation the sustainability of site specific art works that, in the majority of cases, are fundamentally ephemeral in nature.
In her presentation Situation Specific Sound Art — Ephemeral Works she gave an overview of the emergence of a growing body of works of art that needed to be seen and heard, in the context of developments within the visual arts in the second half of the 20th century. Helga observed that, rather than deep involvement of a listener, sound art often primarily intends to reveal features of a space, by the setting up of conditions of perception.
It subsequently led her to stress a situational aesthetics for sound installations, that in general can be experienced only for a — usually very — limited period of time, at a specific location.
After that, what remains, if anything, is the documentation of the work: It would greatly facilitate the re-enactment of certain sound installations. But on the other hand, she asked, why should we try to preserve and maybe even re-enact works that, often quite intentionally, were limited to a certain time and a certain place? And yes, even more generally: Do we listen to music in a way that is different from the way in which we listen to sound art, or the sounds of everyday life?
But when one listens to music, in a performance or concert setting, one shares the same time with the rest of the audience. Music always has a direction, even if there is a distribution in space. It is all stuff with sound! Though often involving a keen and inventive use of technology, much of his work sets out from field recordings. In fact, maybe this is even more important than doing something with it afterwards.
In her sound installations, Signe explained, she uses sound and space to examine social and cultural phenomena by means of an experiential form of research. Her presentation concentrated not so much on the creation of spaces, as on the finding of places as an essential part of her work. Perspectives on Auditive Space symposium during the Flanders Festival.
There are some sounds that, when I listen to them for half an hour, sound to me like LaMonte Young.
Christina kubisch - On Air - Soundohm
The tram in Bratislava, for example, is almost like a choir: Subways, buses, and trains are especially musical, maybe because they depend upon a constant flow of electricity. Airplanes, though, sound really ugly: Is your interest in these phenomena primarily aesthetic or is there a critical element, a desire to call attention to the environmental and psychological implications of this electromagnetic web in which we live?
I have always been critical toward the way that people deal with technology and have made many pieces about the relationships between nature and technology.
It would just be didactic. On the other hand, this stuff is very fascinating as well. I mean, we love computers. So we arrive at the middle of these two worlds—the real world and the continuing substitution of real experience by a technological experience that replaces much of what counted as experience in former times. This summer I put on my headphones during a very strong thunderstorm. There was no electricity, because all the power had gone out. But, when I recorded, I got the sounds of natural electricity, which was wonderful.
The recording is so strange: At two points, you hear voices. I knew that electricity could transport voices, but I had never heard it before. This is nature, too—electrical nature! There are a lot of induction systems for the hard-of-hearing. In the UK, I think they even have a law that churches or public meeting houses have to have these induction loops.
In Switzerland, I came across a group of people—I think it was a group of Indian people—celebrating a religious service in their own language.
In London, I walked by a church where I could hear the cleaning woman talking and, later, the organist playing jazz Track So you become a sort of spy. Sometimes you hear sounds from offices.
They must be there in order to secretly spy on people.Christina Kubisch - The Cat's Dream
Do different cities have unique sonic characteristics? And in Madrid, a really persistent sound is that of the mobile phones that people carry around.
But you hear when they dial—that moment when the information is being transported. You hear that every moment, sometimes in duos or trios, because, in Madrid, everyone lives with their phones. In Taiwan, the sounds are very aesthetic. In Paris, you have some very heavy sounds, like in the train stations, where there is so much interrupted current. Train stations in general are very full, heavy, and dusty with sound Track In the short time when I walked in New York, the sound came from everywhere, and a lot of it from underground.
It was incredibly dense. Even a short movement of my head made big changes in the sound. There are some places that are always interesting, places where there is money: In residential areas, you mostly find low sounds, not so many rhythms. I start there, but then I go further out.
I also ask people to tell me where they can imagine interesting possibilities. You can find interesting sounds anywhere. In the country, there are a lot of high-voltage wires Track 8. They make very beautiful, very dense sounds. But, of course, if you want to have a quick walk and a lot of direct information, then a shopping area is always good.
I know that you are interested in the idea that each participant is a creator who makes his or her own mix. Each person should probably begin with the help of some instructions, so that they know, for example, that you sometimes have to go very close to things.