Re:Sound 2019, Aalborg

Re:Sound 2019 was hosted by RELATE (Research Laboratory for Art and Technology), part of Aalborg University. With 10 tracks of paper sessions, panels, workshops, practice-based interventions, exhibitions, performances, and more, it was without doubt one of the most exhausting events of its kind I have been to. Attendees had an increasingly bedraggled but commensurately happy way about them as the days progressed. 

Highlights were (in chronological order): 

A panel discussion including Barbara London, who has the most inspiring body of sound art curation under her belt. 

Samson Young’s performative keynote, which took a video from his installation at Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery as its foundation. The narrator of which he – in horse head mask – synced movement to. 

Salomé Voegelin’s (also performative) keynote, which quietly embodied her theoretical discourse, in ways which left us feeling her ideas. 

The urban sound art festival Struer Tracks in which I simultaneously liked (for its simplicity and aesthetics) and disliked (for its hangover-inducing effects) Christian Skjødt’s ‘The Receiver’. The piece uses infrasonic sound in an old, disused corn silo structure. I was aware infrasonic sound has nauseating and headache-inducing effects on the listener. And having worked with it myself (though I changed the playback speed to make it audible and thus no ill effects were present) I wanted to experience these effects. Obviously up until the point when I actually did. And then I did not. It’s strange to experience a hangover before lunch, yet after an alcohol-free breakfast. And yes, my breakfasts are usually of that kind. And no, I don’t usually eat breakfast because… well, I tried (not eating) it out having read this book, and it worked. 

Ignas Krunglevičius’ ‘Signal to Noise Ratio’ was also simple and effective, employing powerful transducers to elicit the resonance of thick metal plates, formed into a corridor. 

Maia Urstad’s ‘Nattefærd’ (Night Journey) used real-time messages captured from within the night train from Struer to Copenhagen. It used train carriages in which allied soldiers would have traveled to and from Berlin during WWII. There was something very comforting and reassuring about the size and feel of the carriages. 

A screening of Johan Grimonprez’s ‘Double Take’ which “casts Alfred Hitchcock as a paranoid history professor, unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period” and which introduced me to his compelling body of films. The screening happened late after the most exhausting day, and I was convinced I would fall asleep immediately upon being seated. I sat, enraptured for the full 80 minutes, and then stayed on for the skype with Johan, in which he eloquently answered questions and spoke of his work with sensitive consideration and gusto. 

And moreover, all of the amazing talks and presentations, nearly every one of which I was impressed with WHICH HAS NEVER HAPPENED for me, at this kind of thing. 

Quite amazing. I am very grateful to Morten Søndergaard, Laura Beloff and their team, for making this event possible. And to all of the wonderful artists and other human beings I met. I meet some incredible people and I am grateful for it, and always a little sad to say “farvel”.