Daily Dozen with Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard
Danish artist Jacob Kirkegaard’s works are focused on scientific and aesthetic aspects of sonic perception. He explores acoustic spaces and phenomena that usually remain imperceptible to the immediate ear. Kirkegaard’s installations, compositions and photographs are created from within a variety of environments such as subterranean geyser vibrations, empty rooms in Chernobyl, a rotating TV tower, and even sounds from the human inner ear itself.
Based in Berlin, Germany, Kirkegaard is a graduate of the Academy for Media Arts in Cologne. Since 1995, Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museums, venues and conferences throughout the world. His sound works are primarily released by the British record label Touch and he is a member of the sound art collective freq_out.
Until November 3, 2013, the works of the sound artist can be seen and heard at MoMA's first major exhibition of sound art “Soundings: A Contemporary Score”, which presents work by sixteen of the most innovative contemporary artists working with sound.
Meanwhile, until February 2, 2014, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk holds its autumn exhibition ARCTIC, where Jacob Kirkegaard presents a new work ISFALD.
Danish sound artist and composer Jacob Kirkegaard answers our twelve light-hearted questions. And you can hear his speaking at the symposium for sound art, titled“Sound art: transforming the space into a place”, organized by the acclaimed Latvian festival Skaņu Mežs in Riga, October 7.
Popping ice chunks and calving glaciers at the Ilulissat Ice Fjord. Jacob Kirkegaard recording for ISFALD, his new work for ARCTIC at LOUISIANA Museum of Modern Art, September 2013
What’s the best moment of your day?
The quiet morning when the sun light colors my apartment bright yellow, and I sip my first coffee.
Why do you work as an artist?
I just do it. Since I was six I’ve recorded sounds. Now it has become my profession. So I don’t have anything better to do.
Which films, concerts, exhibits, or books have left a lasting impression on you?
As for films; I’m sure that the documentary The Act of Killing will leave a lasting impression on me. The films of David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Stanley Kubrick & Andrei Tarkowsky certainly.
Concerts; most recently I saw Kraftwerk in Barcelona and it blew me away. But experiencing Slayer live back in 1988 when I was 13 years old definitely changed my life. Grace Jones’s come-back concert also impressed me a lot.
Jacob Kirkegaard has turned his ears inwards: his 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 the audience. Photo: Jacob Kirkegaard
Where do you currently get ideas for your works?
Currently as well as generally I never exactly know where my ideas come from. They just pop up. That’s one of the mysteries of ideas. To let them come. And idea is an idea. Dang! And it is there. It can be when you wake up, or when you gaze out the window. Or in a dream. Or standing under the shower. Or talking to a friend.
Which work(s) of art would you like to have in your possession?
I’ve been dreaming of a drawing by Leif Elggren for a while. But a painting by Danish Wilhelm Hammershøi wouldn’t be bad either. Or a Picasso… No. Then rather an Elggren painting.
What do you do when you’re not occupied with art?
I guess everything that every other deadly people normally do: sleep, eat, talk, walk… or more elaborate: I’d listen to music, gaze at the sky, make love,dance or enjoy a glass of wine. And all the boring stuff like food shopping, Facebook or tax declarations.
Do you sleep a lot?
I love sleeping but I normally don’t sleep more than 6-7 hours. I usually don’t go to bed before 1am. And I like the mornings. Right now it is 1:47am.
Do you collect anything?
I buy vinyl records a lot. And seach for all kinds of music from all over the world through the various weird blogs on the internet.
I also collect tape (from music cassettes) if I see it lying loose in the street.
What is one of the most important things in your studio?
All my sound recording equipment and my computer.
What do you like to eat, and what don’t you like?
I like Japanese, Italian cuisine as well as to eat fruits & berries.
But find intestines like lever, stomach, blood sausage really disgusting.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be?
I never thought a lot about it. I always recorded sound and listened to & collected music since I was a child. I’ve never wanted to be a fire fighter, a police man or those kinds of things.
Name three creative individuals, from any era, with whom you’d gladly spend an evening.
I suppose you mean people I haven’t met before? Then film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky.
And may they be already dead? In that case - Sun Ra and Wilhelm Hammershøi.
Photographic work BLOKU by Jacob Kirkegaard, which portraying the four abandoned rooms which were subject of artist’s recordings during his visit into the Zone of Exclusion, Chernobyl Ukraine in 2005 (sonic project4 ROOMS is currently shown at MoMA, New York)