Sprang at Visningsrommet USF. Photo: Thor Brodreskift

FIBRE OPTIC SOUND INSTALLATIONS WITH HILDE HAUAN JOHNSEN

Hilde Hauan Johnsen and Maia Urstad have collaborated since 2006. Their installations are comprised of optic fibres, light, transformers and playback technology for multiple speakers. Sound is filtered through a specially designed interface that interprets and translates it into light.  This transformer works with the light’s energy, the frequency spectrum, the sonic dynamics and the phases in the sound composition and the space created by the sound’s multiple channels. With light sources connected to both ends of the fibres, sound is able to create a rich optical expression.  The audio frequency range activates the light and produces many nuances in colour and intensity.  Different types of sound materials also create a broad visual spectrum, thus expanding the parameters for a visual and audio composition. The installations are all site-specific and are constructed on location and adapted to the venue in question.

Sprang
Exhibited at
2017: Visningsrommet USFBergen Norway
2014: Soft GalleryOsloNorway

The starting point for Sprang is the ancient textile technique called ‘sprang’. In this installation, the technique interfaces with aural phenomena such as overtones, sound waves and vibrations that are based on Pythagorian theories about acoustics and geometry.

As a textile production technique, sprang has been known in the nordic region since the bronze age. It involves only warp threads and can resemble a simple type of weaving. In the installation Sprang, we do not encounter a physical textile but a composition of sound that metamorphoses into light and activates a network of fibre-optic cables.
The installation uses the window panes as sound surface, and enables part of the work to be experienced also from the outside of the gallery.

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 The 01001 series
Exhibitited at
2012: Nord Norsk Kunstmuseum 
2012: Sogn og Fjordane Kunstmuseum
2009: LydgallerietBergen
2008: Intervall at Bergen City Hall (initiated by Curate.no), 
2008: Article Biennial in Stavanger,
2007: Kaunas BiennialLituania

The installation series 01001 is a visual representation of the invisible universe of information circulating in our global telecommunication systems; airwaves, broadband, telephone signals and digital radio/TV transmissions. Invisible waves of voices and noise are constantly flowing through us without our being aware of anything other than the final result – e.g. when the mobile phone rings or websites appear on the computer screen.
From this global context, we are collecting and processing sound in order to illuminate the fibres in our installation. When sound frequencies activate the fibres’ luminescent properties, the light and sound interact and meld together to form a pulsating object. The invisible becomes visible.
In the two outdoor installations, Bryne Railway Station and the Bergen Town Hall, we also refer to that of being geographically transported. The sound composition uses collected sound recordings of information from train stations around the world, recorded on travels, by us and by colleagues and friends. Both these outdoor public  installations were presented in a covered passageway designed to protect travellers from inclement weather. The installations were thus influenced by a series of unpredictable elements such as noise and light from uncontrolled sources. 

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Originally from the city of Tromsø, Hilde Hauan Johnsen is a professor of textile art at Bergen Academy of Art and Design. In addition to being an active visual artist, she has worked as a scenographer for theatre, music and television productions. www.hildehauanjohnsen.no

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