21June2013 Systematismens 1. Borg

Performed live at Rad#5 - Bergen 6. June 2013
Kristin Tårnesvik, constructor
Espen Sommer Eide, hurdy-gurdy, drum machine and khaen
Mari Kvien Brunvoll, bagpipe and khaen.

Systematismens 1. Borg is made of historical printing plates used in weed biologist Emil Korsmo (1864-2129) textbooks. Systematism pioneer Korsmo created a new economy in agriculture by classifying and measuring the value of useful and useless plants.


21June2013 Formative Days

An evergrowing sketchbook and logbook and webarchive of items lost and found in the Korsmo Weed Archive at Ås, Norway, can now be visited at http://formativedager.tumblr.com 

This is part of the Weed Archive collaboration between Espen Sommer Eide and Kristin Tårnesvik.

19April2013 Spirit Catcher

Spirit Catcher (phonograph-box, tripod, bellows, motor, electronics)
by Espen Sommer Eide, reader Anne Marthe Dyvi
Exhibited and performed as part of the solo exhibition 'Dead Language Poetry' at Bergen Kunsthall 2013

19March2013 DLP Photos

Photo gallery here

19March2013 Language in Time

Bergen Kunsthall has published my talk from 10. March. It is not an 'artist talk' in the usual sense, but more of a lecture and playlist on a subject intended to supplement the exhibition (and one work in particular).

31January2013 Dead Language Poetry

Coming soon, my first solo exhibition at Bergen Kunsthall - I will post more info here soon, but here is the text from their spring program communication.

Also there will be 3 performances in the exhibition, as part of the Borealis Festival program. Welcome!

FRI 01.03. Kl 20.00 (exhibition opening)
Performance by Signe Lidén, Mari Kvien Brunvoll, Tolga Balci, Trine H. Friis, Espen S. Eide.

WED 06.03. Kl 17.00 (borealis 1. day)
Performance by Alexander Rishaug, Janne-Camilla Lyster, Signe Lidén, Tolga Balci, Trine H. Friis, Espen S. Eide.

SUN 10.03. Kl 14.00 
Plattform: Presentation by Espen Sommer Eide and a composition performed by Trine H. Friis. 

Every ten days another language disappears—at the present rate about half of the world’s 6000 languages will disappear in the course of a few generations. What is lost when a language dies is a many-faceted issue which can be viewed in several perspectives, for example cultural history, linguistics and the philosophy of language. With a background in art, music and philosophy, Espen Sommer Eide has taken various approaches to the phenomenon.
His main interest is in the complexity of the processes behind the destruction, evolution and creation of languages.

The archiving of languages can function as both a destructive and a creative process. One of the works in the exhibition revolves around how linguistic structures are stored in a collective consciousness, and how in certain cases the voice can neutralize the destructive power of time and memory. The sacred Vedic texts of India have been passed down through generations (since 1800 BC). Despite exclusively oral transmission their content has been preserved word for word thanks to the special way in which they are recited, in complex paralinguistic patterns.

In the exhibition the theme is also dealt with from a purely aesthetic point of view. For example is there a unique aural imprint embedded in all languages, and can such an aesthetic aspect be separated from the knowledge-bearing and identity-forming aspects? What is the sound of a dead language and can it be revived? When Edison invented the first recording apparatus for sound, the phonograph, it was quickly seen as a medium not primarily for reproducing music, but for listening to recordings of voices from people who had passed on. The voices from the phonograph were experienced as voices without bodies, as spirits in space. Through deconstructions of language and the voice Sommer Eide deals with issues such as the boundaries between living and dead languages, between meaning and sound, and between linguistic-metaphorical structures and the musical organization of sound. In addition to the exhibition, the project consists of a series of performances with a point of departure in self-made instruments (“Philosophical Instruments”).

Espen Sommer Eide has participated in a number of group exhibitions and theatrical productions, and has had a wide-ranging career as a performing musician and composer. Since the end of the 1990s the projects Alog (with Dag-Are Haugan) and Phonophani have been among the most prominent representatives of experimental electronic music in Norway, with a series of releases from the label Rune Grammofon. “Dead Language Poetry” is Sommer Eide’s first solo exhibition. The exhibition is part of an annual collaboration between the Borealis Festival and Bergen Kunsthall. This year’s Borealis has ‘The End’ as an overall theme for its programme, with cue words like endings, old age, obsolescence and decay.

Espen Sommer Eide (b.1972) grew up in Tromsø. He lives and works in Bergen.

04December2012 B-post dialogue

A dialogue between me and my long-time collaborator Nicholas H. Møllerhaug is now printed in the art journal B-Post. Also available online with a sound montage we made some years back. 

21November2012 Upandcoming autum leaves concerts

This autumn: a few all-exclusive concerts (like selected autumn leaves for herbarium) coming up:

29. November Alog with Signe Lidén Brugata Oslo
1. December Alog Christmas with Signe Lidén Bergen Kjøtt
7. December Electric Folkways with P. Bastien Next Festival Bratislava



11October2012 Le Grain de la Voix

The instrument is made for 4 singers and 1 conductor. The conductor controls the sounds that are played through four miniature speakers that are (more or less) inserted into the singers mouths. The singers then proceed to shape the sounds resonance with their mouth cavity as the resonant chamber. It is perhaps best described as reversing the speech direction, where I as the conductor supply what is normally the vocal chords or "voice box" job. The resulting piece is a polyphonic and minimalistic transformation of various vowel resonances. The title alludes to Roland Barthes famous essay on the grain of the voice, giving identity to the voice and reflects on the relationship between the voice and the subject.

The piece featured in the video was composed for coreographer Eva-Cecilie Richardsens perfomance "Speaking and building" in April 2012, Dansens Hus, Oslo.

The singers: Cecilie Lindeman Steen, Janne-Camilla Lyster, Gry Bech-Hanssen and Marte Vold
The conductor: Alexander Rishaug

01October2012 Manifesta 7: building instruments

Searching through old files I came accross these photos by Denis Isaja of my "workshop-performance" at Manifesta 7 in 2008. I invited local participants to bring old vinyl records to have them refurbished with a simple electronic circuit to make them into "vinyl instruments". A separate brush is attached to the arm of the recordplayer that records the conductive carbon material that is painted or sprayed onto the record. The physical orginal grooves may still be heard as well. 

21September2012 the Ligetizer

The Ligetizer is a 6 metronome instrument designed and constructed by Espen Sommer Eide in 2012. It has been presented and performed on in various contexts like the Stedilijk Museum Hear It! series in Amsterdam, Borealis festival and Rad #4 Bergen, Norway and Mutek festival, Montreal. This video presents a short improvised piece on the instrument.

Each metronome has a particular function, made visual by the hypnotizing pendulum movement. It could be LFO, pitch control, note-pulses or other parameters. The metronomes are also interconnected to produce more complex rhythms and waveforms when running simultaniously. The instrument is connected to a suitable sound generating source via MIDI.

This instrument is the first of a new instrument family I call "Philosophical Instruments" - musical instruments that explore various philosophical concepts. Inspired by 18. century scientific instrument builders, these instruments seek to experiment, forcing nature to produce phenomena not normally observed or heard.

30March2012 3 Phonophani events

3 upcoming concerts:

19. April: Phonophani at Hear it! 2, Stedelijk / Trouw Amsterdam
10. May: Phonophani at Bogotá electrónica, Colombia
31. May: Phonophani vs. Pierre Bastien at Mutek 13th Edition, Montreal, Canada

See you there!

Tags: phonophani

23March2012 Bømlo brenn om natta

Tags: alog

13March2012 Speaking and building

Last week I cooperated with the great choreographer Eva-Cecilie Richardsen for a show at Dansens Hus in Oslo. In addition to composing and doing the sound design I got the chance to test a prototype for a new instrument I am working on at the moment. The instrument is made for 4 singers and 1 player/composer. The composer controls the sounds that are played through four miniature speakers that are (more or less) inserted into the singers mouths. The singers then proceed to shape the sounds resonance with their mouth cavity as the resonant chamber. It is perhaps best described as reversing the speech direction, where I as the composer supply what is normally the vocal chords job. The resulting piece is a minimalistic play with various vowel resonances. 

Hope to get some better documentation of the process soon, for now here is a picture of the dancer Janne-Camilla Lyster in deep concentration during rehearsals.