A documentary about the installation SOUND MACHINE in the Norrköping Art Museum, Sweden, 2008
SOUND MACHINE, 2008
2 synchronised HD colour looped video projections - 6 mn. 1 looped soundtrack - 36 mn. 6 texts on canvas - 94 cm x 60 cm.
In 2008 Esther Shalev-Gerz conceived of Sound Machine as a newly commission exhibition for the Norrköping Art Museum, Sweden. She created a sound and video installation for the museum and a correlative soundwork sited beneath the Holmbron Bridge.
Paradoxically by exploiting digital technologies and computer-generated imagery Shalev-Gerz would reveal the speed with which industrial manufacturing economies are being replaced, acknowledge that experiences of working in factories is diminishing, and depict the experiential legacies and immediate inheritances of mass manufacturing.
On crossing from the city centre, to this previously industrial textile district, one would become aware of a machine-like clicking noise. At the museum entrance one would again encounter this sound but on entering silence prevailed. On two large projections pairs of women were depicted absorbed in the act of listening. Behind each pair was a virtual factory with animated, computer-generated machinery - developed by a young designer from old blueprints.
Shalev-Gerz had asked five women, and their now grown daughters, with whom they had been pregnant when the factories were operative, if they even vaguely remembered the continuous noise? The original drone of machines now also a memory, Shalev-Gerz had videoed the pairs of women whilst listening to a manipulated sound recording of machinery. Over time the viewer would notice that the movement of the machines was actually responsive to the slight shifts and fidgets of the mother-daughter pairs.
On darkened walls, framed by light were six canvases, five with printed excerpts from interviews rendered stylistically to the present tense and in the perfunctory style of user’s manuals. The final canvas retraced Shalev-Gerz’s working process.
Don't try this with the Roman alphabet. Well, of course you could try, as have others, but it might be a bit boring. Especially compared to Japanese calligraphy, Shodo, which has a two-thousand year history. It was considered an art form from the very beginning. The video was filmed at the Mainichi Shodo Exhibition, which has been held annually since 1948. It starts in early July in Tokyo and moves on to the country's other major centers. The exhibition attracts 30,000 entries, half of which are selected to be put on show. It was held at the Tokyo National Art Center, which is itself an impressive work of architectural art.