As part of Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, NOTAM [Norwegian Centre for Technology in Art and Music) is producing the installation Currents by Åsa Stjerna. The work was featured in the foyer at the Opera in Oslo. The premiere coincides with the official opening of the festival, and is part of the opening show PRIMA on September 8 2011
The sound installation Currents is based on a scientific project in the ocean surrounding the Faroe Islands, whose research examines the inflow of warm waters in the North Sea and its links to the melting of ice on the northern hemisphere. Measurement data from the North-Atlantic current is registered by an automatic research station on the north side of the Faroe Islands, which sends the information to a computer at MISU, the Institute for Meteorology at the University of Stockholm, and on to a computer hooked up to Åsa Stjerna’s installation at the Opera in Oslo. The incoming data is continuously transformed into a sound artwork that unfolds in real time.
Signals from four different currents are used in the piece. Three of them are used to create three different sound textures, and are derived from measurements of two types of tides (diurnal/semi diurnal) and data from the ionosphere. The sound textures originating from the tide measurements have a drone-like quality, whereas the third sound texture, the one based on the ionosphere, can be experienced as a ‘glittering’ constantly moving sound texture. The fourth signal, consisting of data from the North-Atlantic current, controls the way in which the three sound textures are transformed in time and their spatial positioning in the exhibition space through 18 loudspeakers located on different levels in the opera foyer.
With this sound installation, Åsa Stjerna wants to artistically formulate a flow of information which symbolizes the global ice melting controversy. The purpose is not to provide any answers through the work, but rather to provide a free artistic interpretation that mediates and visualizes a stream of information that concerns us all. The artwork also intends to establish an independent poetic perspective from which it shows how different places affect one another, and make it a spatial auditory experience. The Opera is situated by the sea which borders to the same ocean where the measurements are being made
Currents is made in collaboration with Professor Peter Sigray at the Department of Meteorology (MISU) at the University of Stockholm, engineer Manfred Fox, Berlin, and the software developer Florian Goltz, Berlin.
The installation is produced by NOTAM with support from the Nordic Culture Fund, Längmanska kulturfonden, and Einar Vang, Faroese Telecom.