Last weekend, I was in Aarhus, Denmark, to report on the marvellous SPOR Festival of experimental music and sound art. My ‘proper’ review will be published in the Wire magazine, but I thought sharing my ‘holiday snaps’ here might be nice.
Like many people these days, I’m happy to document what’s going on with a smart phone. There’s a convenience to whipping it out and taking a quick photo, but I’m increasingly aware of an absurdity: we’re taking photographs on a telephone. We’re not quite using the right tool for the job. Banging in nails with the blunt end of a screwdriver.
The telephonic photographer ends up with a lot of noisy, messy images such as this one:
In real life, this was the spectacularly beautiful dawn over Tottenham Marshes, viewed from the train on the way to Stansted Airport. Oh well..
Aarhus is an interesting city. There’s a collision of pragmatic, liberal Scandinavian modernity, a picturesque old town, and an impressive, dramatic industrial port. It all fits, somehow…
…and there’s a beach…
Anyway, here’s some of the other things I saw:
Coming from London, the relaxed Aarhus approach to bicycle security is a surprise!
I stayed just next to the cathedral. On Saturday morning there was a carboot sale outside – homely!
We saw some sound art in impressive places. This was Kirsten Reese’s installation, No voice audible but that of the sea on the far side. Spiralling electronic sound projected inside a cofferdam, designed to lie on the sea bed:
Once in a while, telephone photography comes up trumps. Look at the view through the top, the perfect disc of Danish sky:
At other times, the photography is not so marvellous. I tried to document the various preparations done to the pianos over the course of the festival. Everything from electric motors balanced on the strings, to swathes of masking tape. Interesting sounds, grainy images:
At festivals of experimental music, pianos aren’t the only instruments that receive some punishment. Oh no! Here is a guitar being strung up for a performance by Seth Kim-Cohen:
I managed to see everything that was performed, through a strategy of dashing between venues, but also found a few minutes to dash up to see Olafur Eliasson’s Your Rainbow Panorama, the permanent installation high above the city. And pose like a tourist:
That’s it. No sausages.