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Jacob Kirkegaard images and audio

July 2009

Listen to a few samples of Jacob Kirkegaard's work

Hear a selection of sounds and view images from a selection of three works created by Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, interviewed in this month's issue (#305).


Prize-winning work Labyrinthitis is an interactive sound piece that consists entirely of sounds generated in the artist’s auditory organs – and will cause audible responses in those of a live audience. Labyrinthitis relies on a principle employed both in medical science and musical practice: when two frequencies at a certain ratio are played into the ear, additional vibrations in the inner ear will produce a third frequency. This frequency is generated by the ear itself: a so-called “distortion product otoacoustic emission” (DPOAE), also referred to in musicology as “Tartini tone”. NB: The effect in your ears will not appear when listening to this sound file.

Phonurgia Metallis consists of three metal plates, one iron, one copper, and one brass, each measuring 100 cm square by 0,10 cm thick. The plates are hung in 1,5 mm steel wires from the ceiling 8 cm from the wall. These very thin plates act like sensors to their surroundings, vibrating subtly in indirect response to sounds and movements in the room. A contact microphone and a contact speaker are attached on the back side of each plate. The microphone picks up the resonance from within the plate, amplifies and redirects it back into the plate through the contact speaker. Through this constant amplification and resonant feedback of subtle vibrations, the individual resonant frequencies of the iron, copper and brass plates are "mirrored" and unfolded within the material itself.

The image gallery features images from Nagaras, a series of eight photographs shot on an expedition into the deserts of Oman in December 2008. The work explores a sonic phenomenon which only occurs in a few deserts around the world: The Singing Sands. The photographs aim to capture momentary visual fragments of the millions of sand grains which, in joint movement, emit such "marvelous" sounds. The seemingly chaotic patterns generated on the desert dunes during the sands' sonic emissions offer a visualization of sound in the making, through movement in matter.

Nagaras and Phonurgia Metallis forms part of Jacob Kirkegaard's solo exhibition Motion...Matters currently being shown at the gallery Helene Nyborg Contemporary in Copenhagen Denmark.

Labyrinthitis was commissioned by Medical Museion in Copenhagen, Summer 2007 and was released as a special limited edition CD with essays by Douglas Kahn and Anthony Moore in October 2008. The work can be purchased on the TouchShop

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