In 2014, we interviewed Danish artist Jacob Kirkegaard as part of a research project entitled ON LISTENING. This podcast takes us back to that conversation.
With projects on the deserts of Oman, the Chernobyl 'zone of alienation', Arctic calving glaciers and the tones generated by the human inner ear itself, mapping out Jacob Kirkegaard's artistic practice is no easy task. He allows himself to be led by wonder, focusing on hidden or unheard layers of sound and sonic phenomena in highly charged contexts.
Kirkegaard uses accelerometers – special contact microphones that record the imperceptible vibrations of materials – to capture hidden resonances. He later works these sounds into compositions or mixed media installations that channel an access to an inner world, addressing complex and often conflicting realities from a neutral standpoint: it is just sound.
A cluster of keywords may suggest an insight into his artistic practice: resonant frequencies; accelerometer; Fukushima; calving glacier; metalistening; space; Palestine; neutrality; radiation; John Cage, hydrophones, cochlear; layering; otoacoustic emissions; Arctic; rooms; disharmonic; sleep; nuclear; recording.
Kirkegaard is a graduate of the Academy for Media Arts in Cologne and a member of the sound art collective freq_out. He regularly collaborated with the late electronics pioneer Else Marie Pade. His first retrospective solo exhibition was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, and he has presented his work at galleries, museums, and concert spaces throughout the world. His sound works have been released on labels such as TOUCH, Important Records, VON Archives and Posh Isolation.
In this podcast, Kirkegaard reflects on the importance of listening and argues that sound art can create purely sensory spaces that go beyond our immediate perception, helping us to grasp the unfathomable.