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Jacob Kirkegaard - Phantom Bell
This work combines sounds of tinnitus tinnitus interpreted from tinnitus sufferers’ descriptions of the sounds they hear, with verbal accounts of their subjective reactions to their tinnitus. It was installed in a darkened cell in the museum - a former panoptic prison.
Phantom Bell explores tinnitus, a hearing condition in which people hear sounds that have no outside or inside physical source. Tinnitus is therefore not a sound that can be recorded or objectively heard. Perhaps therefore it becomes the most intimate sound of all.
This work aims to portray a non-existing yet present sound.
When interviewing tinnitus sufferers about what they hear, Kirkegaard found that they don’t all hear the same sound. On the contrary, these phantom sounds are very individual and vary a lot from person to person. Some experience various extended tones and others abrupt noise.
Jacob Kirkegaard interviewed nine musicians, all of whom have tinnitus, and asked them to describe their tinnitus as precisely as they could in terms of pitch, frequency, timbre, loudness etc. Since tinnitus for most people is an unwanted phenomenon - a sound they would prefer not to hear - it became obvious to have them really concentrate on it and describe it in depth. From their descriptions Kirkegaard worked on producing a sound that would resemble their tinnitus as precisely as possible.
He then asked them to describe what associations their tinnitus evoked. Everyone could give vivid and detailed descriptions. It could be a description of a foggy space, a horizon with a thin sharp grey line. Or a metal tube with frost crystals on the edges.
From these extensive interviews Kirkegaard produced nine compositions. In each one the tinnitus sound that he had created runs continuously, overlaid from time to time with the voice of the person describing the associations connected to their tinnitus.
Phantom Bell, 33-minute composition, Jacob Kirkegaard @ 2011
Commissioned by Espacio de Arte Contemporaneo, Montevideo, Uruguay, 2011
In order of appearance:
01) Bjarke Kristensen
02) Anna Lundh
03) Mariel Roberts
04) Anthony Moore
05) Anna Lundh
06) Nicolas Villa
07) Anna Lundh
08) JG Thirlwell
It’s very sharp, it is very shrill
Like a metallic feeling
It feels like a sharpness in the roots of my teeth
I guess it is very much on the inside of my head
In that way connected to my jaw and connected to my skull
I guess I would imagine it like aluminum
Like if you’re ever a little kid and accidentally chew on aluminium foil
It feels like that
But it is like a constant feeling feeling of very sharp, like electric
Like electricity flowing through metal
I guess it is bluish silver, I don’t know if it looks like anything
It almost tastes like,
A little bit like blood or something like
If you cut yourself and if you try to clean away the blood
It tastes a little bit like that, it kind of feels like that but more harsh
Its right at the back center of your head
A very sharp flavour, it is really high
I feel like it almost prevents me to thinking of things
Because sometimes it gets to be so overwhelmingly loud that
It blocks out whatever else I might be thinking of
There’s a little bit of a round pace to it
Like this situation
And it is definitely cold
And it is definitely glittery or something it’s like this.
There is so many pieces that you can’t distinguish one piece from another in it
It feels silver color, sharp in a way
Ice cold metal from a freezer It’s very
If that one was amplified up
It would be very unpleasant
If you would look at a steel tube, at its cross section, not from the long side of the tube,
You would look at it straight on at the cross section,looking through the tube,
But you would look at the edge of that cross section, let’s say it’s about a couple of millimetres thick
If your eye follows that edge and then you see all these little crystals
Going around the edge of that tube
Do you know what i mean
And if you touch it you would get stuck
It’s that sort of cold metal that almost, that you almost wanna
You wouldn’t really want to touch it
Lo llevaré a un sitio silencioso y muy resonante
En donde realmente no importa que tanto silencio que haya
Siempre se puede escuchar una mezcla de sonidos que lleven de la calle el exterior
Sonidos que producen los materiales como madera
Que gracias al espacio tus amplifican y forman un ambiente
Si tuviera comparar lo con algo físico
Era como si tuviera metida la cabeza adentro campana
y alguien le pegar esta campana por fuera
Y ese sonido sus tenido que viene después del golpe inicial
Seguía constante en mi cabeza
Es un poco difícil pero es como si estuviera el centro de mi celebro
Obviamente se siente mas que todo en los oídos
Pero es también adentro de
Como resonando entre la cabeza por todos partes
Created in partnership with the Canadian noisemakers, the late legend's final collaborative LP enshrines his ability to lift joint ventures into otherworldly territory. Bandcamp Album of the Day Nov 8, 2021