SOUND OF NORWAY - NORWAY REMIXED
ASBJØRN FLØ, RISTO HOLOPAINEN AND TROND LOSSIUS
KONSEPT: BJARNE KVINNSLAND AND TILMAN HARTENSTEIN
NORWAY A COUNTRY OF SOUND - NORWAY REMIXED was installed at the Oslo S Railway Station during two short weeks in the fall 2002, during the Ultima festival. The installation played sound streamed from 16 locations in Norway, and also gave visitors an opportunity to process the streamed material "hands-on," using custom tools in a listening room especially designed for this purpose. The installation was a collaborative project, with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) and Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music (NOTAM) as the main partners. NOTAM was responsible for the artistic content and NRK for most of the technical aspects, including the actual constructions and marketing. The artistic idea and framework was handed over to three artists, Asbjørn Flø, Trond Lossius and Risto Holopainen, whom NOTAM commissioned to realize the sound results and form the concrete artistic presentation.
NRK district offices chose the environments for the sound recordings for their local, familiar and recognizable significance. The sounds from the environments mirror real aspects of everyday life in Norway. These sounds were also available on the Internet, in both natural and processed form, engendering a sense of Norwegian self-awareness as the public listened in on activities from daily life in other parts of the country. In addition to the opportunity to both reflect upon and enjoy sound environments from across the country, visitors could also shape the sounds themselves by actively manipulating and altering the sounds using technological tools.
Physically, the installation consisted of several ceiling mounted loudspeakers in a circulation area of the station, with the speakers forming a path leading to the perforated steel architectural space designed as a "listening booth." Here, visitors could process the sounds they heard and play it back through the room's twenty-four speakers. The sound processing was done by manipulating a custom-designed "button tree" that was easy to understand and use. The installation had thousands of visitors during the two-week period, and received many interesting comments in the guest book describing how the sounds stirred a well of memories and emotions.