In collaboration with Johanna Ehde
Crises can also be expressed through sound, and specifically through noise, which functions perfectly as an economy of disruption.1
Noise holds a negative remnant. It talks about disturbance, interference and annoyance. Noise becomes matter out of place. Nevertheless, this does not necessarily equal disruptiveness by all means. Embracing noise, or disruptiveness might mean embracing multiplicity, plurality, the refusal of categorizations and hierarchies. Disorder, chaos, flexibility might acknowledge imperfection, instability, marginality and an inclusion of the unknown. In this sense noise could be seen as a method to “put in crisis” that which is discriminatory.
Aguda, ligera, estridente (High, light, shrill) tries to capture the voice of a typeface* which was developed through “noisy” means. Its sound is built in close relationship to cultural constructions on gender and sound. This relates to the silencing of “female” voices and the voice of “the other”. “Female” sound has historically been associated with monstrosity, disorder, and death. It has been seen as disturbing, evil and difficult to listen to. Ideas like the virtue of female silence and the “two mouths” who’s lips must remain closed links the dangerous female sound to the dangerous female sexuality. This becomes an ideology to systematically silence the non-normative voice, to discard it. Aguda, ligera, estridente re-appropriates this ideology by adopting the “Female” sound as a form of subversive noise. Closing women's mouths was the object of a complex array of legislation and convention in preclassical and classical Greece, of which the best documented examples are Solon's sumptuary laws and the core concept is Sopholdes' blanket statement, “Silence is the kosmos [good order] of women.”2
Aguda, ligera, estridente brings a context to embrace this noise, and reaffirm it through the feeling of its vibration. Listening is explicitly relational, and that becomes central as a tool to make this typeface public, to publish it, and unfold it while considering the possibilities of a “freedom of listening”. [...] it is only through listening out for difference that a plurality of voices can register – this is the role, in other words, of audition as audit. Freedom of expression is necessary, but not sufficient, to ensure plurality. The vagaries of (conditioned) individual choice and the conditions of the marketplace, as well as more direct instances of censorship and control, might lead to a multitude of similar voices, or the marginalization or silencing of certain other voices.3
The prevailing typography doctrine remains circumscribed to western-centric modernist ideas of purity in design, natural balance, the golden ratio, and perfection of form, while systematically excluding complexity, plurality, and queerness. In many cultures, carvings and letters have been seen as loaded with divine force, and therefore only allowed to be handled by clergymen who became the link between divinity and humanity. Knowing the written expression of a language and mastering this art was a means of ’conquering the world’ and it was the privilege of a select few.4 The superior position of the written word and the ones who control its production and form, is inextricable from history writing and the recording and archiving of certain experiences and knowledge. When lacking plurality in history writing (and history typesetting) a singular voice is continuously reproduced in a consistent tone and form, while “deviating” sounds and “deviating” histories remain in the margins or out of the history books.
1) Sara Nadal-Melsió, Allora and Calzadilla, 2018.
2) Anne Carson, Glass, Irony, and God, 1994.
3) Kate Lacey, Listening in the Digital Age, 2013.
4) Susanne Lundin, En liten skara äro vi… en studie av typographer vid 1900-talets första decennier, 1992.
Many thanks to Chus Pato and Ultramarinos for granting permission to use excerpts from Poesía reunida. Volumen 1 (translation from galician to spanish by Ana Gorría) in Aguda, ligera, estridente.
* The typeface in Aguda, ligera, estridente was developed during Residencias Artísticas de La Puebla de Cazalla as part of the project Collective Type and Noise Design (2018) which explored ways of designing a typeface collectively. It was developed with Ana Gómez, Andrés Gallego, Dolores Gómez, Domingo Reyes, Estefanía Ruíz, Felipe Romero, Francisco Moreno, Juan Diego Asencio, Juan Jovacho, Keli Andrade, Luís Moya, Manuel Márquez, Maria Isabel Segura, Marta Miró, Miguel Hormigo, El Centro ocupacional de La puebla de Cazalla, and Alegría y Piñero. Aguda, ligera, estridente is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL
Intensa necesidad la mía,
posar la vista en algo en lo que no pueda ser retenida. 1
Mirrored tiles on bushes (variable dimensions), facing the IJ (south-west). Sounds from the shore are played back (live). There’s a loop (33’56’’) of a noise (boat) recorded there.
Portable recorder, mid-side microphone, portable speakers, cables, screen print on glass tiles, pine wood strips, mdf, 2019
Rocky Mossy is a self-initiated group intervention in De Noorder IjPolder, Amsterdam. In collaboration with Antonin Giroud-Delorme, Eunhee Kang and Younwon Sohn.
Trail off, to touch the bed of ground,
Carefully step on the rock,
for the insects carrying stones underneath,
Take the root and tie to your arm,
Float on the water where the burning mite ticks dive.
Dirt is bitter and pungence leaks
Breath, smell is like a floating oil on the jean,
Thunderstorm arrives above our heads,
Keep being dry,
Chat at the backside of that tree,
Call the wind and chant in beat
1) Urania, Chus Pato, 1991
Images by Antonin Giroud-Delorme
She listened attentively. Little by little she discovered the disheartened cracks because of the woodworm. She remembered that the spiritualists believe that these cracks are expressions, and voices, of the dead, and she found herself bristled in fear…1
Door knocker, recycled rubber, variable dimensions, speaker, stereo sound (Electric Buzz) 20’00’’, 2019
Door Knocker, Your Voice was a site-specific intervention for the staircase show ‘Torpor/A Bliss/A Slump’ at Haarlemmerweg 613 in Amsterdam.
1) La Mujer Nueva, Carmen Laforet, 1955
Special thanks to Younwon Sohn
In the future, major disasters will raise the alarm through, for example, emergency broadcasters, sound vehicles, [...] and social media. The advantage of these means of communication is that they can be used in a much more targeted way.1
Aegian Sea, air passing through the mouth, saliva, sinusoidal frequencies.
Speakers, smartphone, stereo jack splitter 3,5 mm., cables, stereo sound, 8’23’’, 28 mirror tiles (30 x 30 cm.), synthetic tongue prop, cable ties, galvanized metal chunk (2 x 2 cm.), 2019
Touch to Snooze was a web and site intervention. Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Amsterdam. Through single invitation by Pending Skills.
Images by Pending Skills
Collective Type and Noise Design is an exploration into ways of designing type collectively, through voice, noise production, improvisation, drawing and meditation exercises. Simultaneously, it is an exploration into ways of designing noise collectively by the same means.
This work was developed with graphic designer Johanna Ehde and a group of locals within a one month residency in La Puebla de Cazalla.
Sound walks, drawing drums, plastic noise, rubbed letters, sliced type, synths, glyphs and transmitted words, 2018
Special thanks to Alegría y Piñero
The local nature of noise problems does not mean that all action is best taken at local level, as for example generally the sources of environmental noise are not of local origin.1
...we could actually drive from my home city’s highway in Spain to Amsterdam’s ring road —and beyond— without experiencing any substantial shift within an actually common general soundscape. Four-channel audio, variable duration, speakers, dropped ceiling tiles, aluminium guides, speakers, pine wood, variable dimensions.
Pipes, motors, ventilations, air conditioners and electrical installations.
1) European Commission’s Green Paper on Future Noise Policy, 1996
The vibration-environment is a term that conceives sound as an immersive scenario. As an ecology, it is constantly producing relationships between auditors and sources. Sound is understood in this research as a medium or a trace, a matter of cohabitation and as a sharing of a common space.
Focusing on anthropogenic sounds, the research question is about the terms in which the vibration-environment is determined, designed and assembled—the ways in which humans produce noise. Thus, ‘noise’, as a ‘condition’ inherent to the vibration-environment, is constantly at the backdrop. This ‘condition’ is what eventually stands as the questioned element within this thesis.
As a starting point, a series of references about cultural implications of sound in space situate audible phenomena as an ethereal substance, which has been connoted as a sacred element and as ungraspable matter—especially when the source of the sound is unknown or, in relation to the acousmatic term, invisible.
At the same time, reverberation and echoes exemplify the physical particularities of sound in relation to space and architecture, bringing as well a magical dimension widely used in music and religion.
In close relationship to this, the abat-voix, as a surface used in churches to direct priests’ voices towards the public to make them distinct, becomes a clear example of sound deployment within a political dimension. Thus, listening to the abat-voix refers to the questioning of the vibration-environment and the questioning of the relationships between noise and the physical and contextual vibrations occupying spaces and bodies.
This approach sets a crucial aim within my practice. Noisification defines a process that aims to intervene in situations with specific contextual and political significance. Mise en abyme, reflection, illusion and mirage become strategies to emphasise the relationship with the sound and with anthropogenic soundscapes in order to trigger a different form of exchange with the recognised sources.
Using loudspeakers becomes my main methodology to manipulate and represent sound. It constitutes a process of breaking bonds between the audible and its source and therefore a process of hiding the source.
Such methodology performs a chase for acousmatic sounds—and acousmatic listening—and therefore for invisible ethereal matter. Noisification is a chase for fiction and for alternatives to the noise.
Noisification. Listening to The Abat-voix, Abstract, 2018 Passages on background noise, version for heaphones Noisification. Listening to The Abat-voix was printed in Amsterdam in 2018. Graphic design by Darío Dezfuli.
+31 649 49 55 13
2019 Aguda, ligera, estridente. Johanna Ehde and Andrés G. Vidal. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo José María Moreno Galván. La Puebla de Cazalla, ES
2019 Touch to Snooze. Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Amsterdam, NL
2017 Interrupted Backgrounds. Torre Encendida, Sevilla, ES
2016 De Komedie van Materiaal. Sala Iniciarte, Córdoba, ES
2015 Technotribal. Centro Cultural Provincial, Diputación de Málaga, ES
2014 100 Poemas o Insultos. Un Gato en Bicicleta, Sevilla, ES
2019 Hypnequinomagia, The Magic of the Sleeping Horses. Combo. Venice, IT
2019 Rocky Mossy. De Noorder Ijpolder. Amsterdam, NL
2019 Torpor/A Bliss/A Slump. Haarlemmerweg 613, 3, Amsterdam, NL
2018 Juana Lee.011. Forking Room : Your Smart Neighborhood. Duo show with Younwon Sohn. Mapo-gg, Changheon-Dong, 독막로 20길 42. Seoul, KR
2018 They Swore It Could Talk To Dogs. Bageion Hotel. Athens, GR
2018 La Gran Máquina V. Festival Embarrat de Creación Contemporánea. Tárrega, ES
2017 Look At This Fucked Up Bird I Just Met. LOSDOK, Amsterdam, NL
2016 The Soft Landing: Xmas Dirty Art Department Gala. De Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam, NL
2016 A Trampoline for the Losers. Butcher’s Tears, Amsterdam, NL
2016 Punctum Remotum, Punctum Proximun, Punctum. Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, NL
2016 Under35. Galeria GACMA, Málaga, ES
2016 Málaga Crea. La caja Blanca, Málaga, ES
2015 Sopa de Plástico, y Olvídese de Su Vieja Tostadora. Duo show with Tomás Navarro Gª. Espacio Metromar, Sevilla, ES
2014 XXV Exposición Visual Sonora BBVA. Sede fundación BBVA, Bilbao, ES
2014 Errores. Sala de exposiciones, Oliva de la Frontera, Badajoz, ES
2013 Imposible de Etiquetar. Sala Efti, Madrid, ES, Escenario Santander, Santander, ES, Sala Bilbao Arte, Bilbao, ES y Sala Setba, Barcelona, ES
2019 Malpaís (Copia Original). Juan Carlos Robles and Guillermo Weickert. Sound design for video installation and sound performance. Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía C3A, Córdoba, ES, Museo Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo MIAC, Las Palmas, ES.
2019 Homies Prayers. Mónica Mays. Sound performance. Corridor Project Space, Amsterdam, NL
2019 Punto Perfecto. María Alcaide. Sound editing for video installation. Galería Àngels, Barcelona, ES
2019 Train, a city. Solo sound performance. La Ciudad. Imnersión Sonora en la Ciudad de Sevilla. Fonoteca de Sevilla. Espacio Santa Clara. Sevilla, ES
2019 Krab Jenga Club. Darío Dezfuli. Sound design for performance. Werkplaats Typografie, Arnhem, NL
2019 Agni Parthene, O Pure Virgin. Ascension to Mount Athos. Mercedes Pimiento. Sound design. Galería Àngels, Barcelona, ES
2018 Programa de Producción UAVA/C3A. Sound design for video. Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba, ES
2018 Untitled. Solo performance. En Potencia, with Centro José Guerrero. Plaza Bib-rambla, Granada, ES
2018 Soundscapes. Solo performance. Silencio. Festival de la Escucha. Espacio Turina, Sevilla, ES
2018 Pirotectnia. Duo performance with Ana Arenas. Sala de Ensayo. Galería Alarcón Criado. Sevilla, ES
2016 Landscape on Hold. Nazanin Karimi. Sound design for video installation. Graphic Design Department Graduation Show, Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, NL
2016 Invertebrados. Duo performance with Antonio Murga. Sala Iniciarte Córdoba, ES
2015 Invertebrados. Duo performance with Antonio Murga. Casa de Max, Sevilla, ES
2015 Devoid. Solo performance. Casa de Max, Sevilla, ES
2015 Technotribal. Duo performance with Nano Orte. Centro Cultural Provincial. Diputacion de Malaga, ES
2015 Technotribal. Duo performance with Juan Carlos Robles. Centro Cultural Provincial, Diputacion de Malaga, ES
2014 El Fantasma de Carla Lonzi, Perdido en el Ciberespacio. Duo performance with Jose Iglesias Gª Arenal. Facultad de Bellas Artes, Universidad de Sevilla, ES
2012 Untitled. Solo performance. Jornadas de Acción Sonora. Facultad de Bellas Art es Universidad de Sevilla, ES
2018 Beca de Residencia Artística la Puebla de Cazalla, ES
2018 Programa de producción UAVA/C3A. Centro de Creación Contemporánea, Córdoba, ES
2019 Girls Like Us. Issue Twelve. ISSN 1879-7385
2018 The Name of the Author. PS (PUBLIC SANDBERG), ISBN 978- 90-827670-1-8
2016 De Komedie van Materiaal. Junta de Andalucía, ISBN 978-84- 9959-220-6
2015 Technotribal. Diputación de Málaga, Depósito Legal: MA-778- 2015
2016 Programa Iniciarte. Junta de Andalucía, ES
Website by Johanna Ehde