Jacob Kirkegaard on his work TESTIMONIUM:
The sound art of Jacob Kirkegaard explores ways to reflect on complex, unnoticed or unapproachable conditions and environments. In 1981, at the age of six, Kirkegaard made his first sound recordings and in 1994, he was introduced to the world of sound art. His works have treated themes such as radioactivity in Chernobyl and Fukushima, border walls in global and metaphorical contexts and melting ice in the Arctic. Two of his recent works are immersive acoustic explorations into global waste management and of processes related to when a human being dies. Since 2006, Kirkegaard has also been extensively researching, recording and creating works using otoacoustic emissions; tones generated from the actual human ear. The core element and method of his work derive from the use of sound recordings of the tangible aspects from its intangible themes.
Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museum, biennales and concert spaces throughout the world, including MoMA in New York, Louisiana - Museum of Modern Art and ARoS in Denmark, The Menil Collection and the Rothko Chapel in Houston, The Sydney Biennale in Australia, Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, The Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Kirkegaard's work is represented in the permanent collections of Louisiana - Museum of Modern Art and ARoS - Aarhus Art Museum.
Kirkegaard's sound works have been released on labels such as Important Records (USA), Touch (U.K.), mAtter (JAP) and Posh Isolation (DK). He is a founding member of the sound art collective freq_out as well as the non-for-profit arts organisation TOPOS. In 2016, Kirkegaard was the sound-artist-in residency at St. John's College, University of Oxford, U.K.
MEMBRANE, 2020, Video, 37:20 min, MEMBRANE is a sound and visual portrait of the growing border wall that separates Mexico and the U.S. This long metal barrier takes many forms and is made of many different materials, as it winds and twists several thousand kilometers through deserts, plains, and mountains, crossing Native American land, national parks, and even city streets to end in the Pacific Ocean. Kirkegaard travelled along the wall from El Paso to Tijuana, stopping at sites on both sides of the wall to shoot video and to record ambient sounds of the surrounding landscape a well as the inner sounds of the metal structure: By attaching vibration sensors directly to the wall at each site, he captured the resonant frequencies of the different wall structures. Membrane, with its panoramic vistas and penetrating close up views of the wall, reveals that this seemingly desolate and silent area of the American Southwest is alive with light and shadow, and especially with sound, the sound of the wall itself.
TESTIMONIUM, 2019, Audio-visual work with a 2-channel sound composition, TESTIMONIUM is an audio-visual work created from recordings from waste, recycling and wastewater facilities in Denmark and Latvia as well as from one of the world’s largest landfills; the Dandora dumpingsite in Nairobi, Kenya. With vibration sensors placed inside endless piles of organic waste and on massive incinerators, hydrophones lowered in wastewater and heavily contaminated rivers, and acoustic microphones pointed at metal, glass and plastic sorted by hand or machine, TESTIMONIUM listens beyond the immediate stench from discarded matter and into its physical core and industrialised journey. An acoustically detailed powerful and bittersweet homage to the midden of civilisation and a testimonium for the future.
Black Metal Square, 2015, Black metal plate, sensor, contact speaker, light, amplifier and steel wire, 100 x 100 x 0.1 cm. Edition of 6 + 1 AP, Black Metal Square consists of a freely hanging black metal plate (100 x 100 x 0.1 cm). Its natural vibrations are enhanced and reflected back onto the plate in a constant replay. This type of subtle energy reflection reveals the resonance of the metal plate both visually as well as sonically. In 2015, Kirkegaard created Black Metal Square # 1 with inspiration from Kazimir Malevich’s painting Black Square from 1915 and the astronomer Robert Fludd’s drawing of a black square from 1617-21 with the text ‘Et sic in infinitum’ (And thus in all eternity).