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Alexander Rishaug

04.06 - 06.06.21

"in(side) the closet" consists of a series of sonic experiments, that will lead to an open-end laboratory, rather than a final exhibition of selected art objects and thought-through concepts. A site-specific negotiation with time, acoustics, resonance and space. A surgical examination of the closet’s sonic possibilities and acoustic phenomenon.

First time when I visited IN THE CLOSET as a visitor, I was stroke by the silent presence of the space. It’s a tiny room, a walk-in closet, yet it felt like the sound of the space where enormous. The ventilation system that’s fixed to the roof, brings a characteristic tone to the whole space, like a continuous dark drone. I wanted to amplify this tone and other sounds from the place, and play it back into the space, to create and endless loop, activate the space and to make people aware of these “unheard events”.

When attending IN THE CLOSET art space you need to book a time through email or Instagram. Usually there’s several slots available, Saturday at 2pm or Sunday at 5pm is usually a good choice. Then you’re directed to Fiskegata 2, push the doorbell with the name Vsevolod Kovalevskij. A kind voice will let you inside. The gallery is located in the third floor, the hallway feels like it hasn’t been renovated since the eighties. The host will welcome you by the entrance of the apartment, and he will give you instructions of how to proceed.

When entering the “in(side) the closet” installation you’re recommended to shut the door from the inside, turn off your mobile phone, spend some time, close your eyes and listen. Try to locate where the sounds are coming from? Can you formulate how they affect you? Is there any of these sounds you like more in particular? Why? Leaning your head towards the wall you might hear the neighbor’s dishwasher in action or the bouncing overtones of Seva’s kitchen fan. Sometimes he offers freshly baked börek (with feta and spinach) or a tiny glass of Turkish tea.

During the pandemic an array of new sounds occurred, leaving space for silence to enter the arena, bringing our focus back to tiny events, vibration and subtle resonance. Covid-19 caused a drop in worldwide seismic noise levels. In geophysics Seismic sound refers to vibrations within the earth caused by earthquakes, volcanos, humans etc.

There has been a significant decrease around the world. With less people traveling with cars, busses, trains, planes and Industrial activity, there’s less vibrations impacting the earth’s crust on a daily bases (CBS, News). The global median high-frequency anthropogenic seismic noise (hiFSAN) dropped by as much as 50 percent. This period of reduced noise lasted longer and was quieter than the Christmas–to–New Year period.

Alexander Rishaug (b. Oslo 1974) is a sound artist and composer working with audible memory and environmental sound. He is a graduate from Nordland kunst og filmfagskole in Kabelvåg (1991-1993) and NTNU, Kunstakademiet in Trondheim (1996-2000).

From 2018 - 2021 Rishaug is an artistic research fellow in the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme at the Academy of Arts, UIT - The Arctic University of Norway. He’s been teaching workshops in listening practice and sound editing at the Academy of Arts Nordland kunst og filmfagskole and Einar Granum Kunstskole. In the research project Sound of time - Tuning into the Norwegian Landscape and The Post-Industrial Soundscape he wants to investigate how we as humans relate to public space and the sound environment around us, collective auditory memory and how sound function as a phenomenon, a social and political construct. Rishaug creates site-specific sound projects that investigates time, memory, space/place and acoustics through the use of extended field recording techniques and advanced speaker technology. This has led to numerous performances, art projects and collaborations within the field of sound art, contemporary music, visual art, film, dance and theatre.

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