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I was expecting the curator’s ideas of transience, instability and uncertainties to be translated into powerful works that directly engage with some of today’s most pressing and depressing concerns. I got very little of that. I got plenty of clouds (including a couple of atomic ones), foam, puddles, waves and fountains though.

Fortunately, the biennale also features a surprisingly high number of sound works, extraordinary visual and emotional experiences and, here and there, a couple of more politically-minded artworks

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The work invites people on a tour of both metal music and metal materials in Helsinki. Participants get a metal detector that has been altered to play pre-recorded music from Helsinki metal bands. The group then wanders through the city historical sites, looks for the presence of iron, tin, steel, silver, copper and other metals in the ground and as soon as the device has spotted something, hard rock and metal will play through the headphones

Good Luck, Archaeologists! reflects on the 10 years of OTTO-Prod‘s programme of shows, concerts, art residencies and performance in Maribor. You might have never been to Maribor, it’s Slovenia’s second-largest city, it’s charming and it’s actually not that large. And maybe you haven’t heard much about OTTO-Prod but i love what these young artists from Marseille have been doing, quietly and with far more talent than money, in Maribor and elsewhere for a decade

When Jonáš Gruska is not busy giving workshops on urban sonification, creating his own recording instruments, making electromagnetic fields audible or organizing a solar-powered (experimental) music festival called SVUK, you’ll find him under bridges, inside bridges, in ventilation systems or near oil refineries exploring the psychoacoustic properties of sound in industrial spaces

This piece of sound equipment emits low frequency infrasound waves, which causes those in its path to release the contents of their bowels—or more colloquially, to “shit themselves”. This kind of sound cannon has its roots in sonic weapons first developed by the Nazis for the purposes of crowd control, and purportedly also by the French authorities during the Paris riots of 1968

There is a surprising similarity in the way neural networks and analogue modular synthesizers function, in that for both, voltages are passed through components to produce data or sound. The neural interface we developed juxtaposes these two networks and in a sense creates a continuum that creates one unified network. With CellF, the musician and musical instrument become one entity to create a cybernetic musician, a rock star in a petri dish.

Moritz Simon Geist is a classical musician and a robotics engineer who builds his own musical instruments. The most famous of them is the MR-808, an oversized replica of the TR-808 produced by Roland to reproduce drum sounds. This 1980s electronic drum machine imitated the drum so inadequately that it actually created its own sound. The distinctive ‘thump thump’ became an integral part of hip hop music, gained iconic status with Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing and reached such a cult position within the music industry that even Kayne West paid tribute to the machine in one of his hit albums

Aernoudt Jacobs is an artist fascinated with sound in all its forms and possible expressions. He collects fields recordings around the world but he also creates installations based on Bell’s photoacoustic effect that reveals the sonority of any material hit with a strong beam of light, builds sound microscope that magnifies the freezing and melting process of water or suspends coils, magnets and 1000 tin cans into the air to play with the laws of electromagnetic induction and create tiny vibrations that produce sounds

The sound of empty space explores relationships between microphones, speakers, and surrounding acoustic environments through controlled, self-generating microphone feedback. By building flawed technological systems and nullifying their intended potential for communication, the ear is turned towards the empty space between components; to the unique configurations of each amplifying assemblage

Lacplesis Technology is a group of three projects that aim to rise discussion about the balance between two paragraphs of the article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” and
“Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”

Darsha Hewitt built a whole installation that exploits the inherent and irritating glitches emitted by vintage baby monitors. The receivers are attached to motors and slowly bow back and forth in front of the emitters, creating a subtle soundscape of nuanced feedback patterns and squelching radio interference reminiscent of the whimpers of crying babies

The work of Owl Project goes from simple ironic devices such as the iLog which is a log that thinks it is a music player to large scale installations such as ~Flow which was a floating tidal waterwheel powered electro acoustic musical instrument responding to the river Tyne in Newcastle. Owl Project has also toured festivals and events with their rather ingenious Sound Lathe, a musical instrument based on a traditional green wood turning pole lathe that explores the relationship between the crafting of physical objects and the shaping of sound