The butterfly develops through a process called metamorphosis. The term is also used to describe general transformation or change. A new phase where something is left behind.
Jacob Kirkegaard - Metamorphosis (2021)
Metamorphosis is a soundtrack which uses sound recordings of butterfly wings combined with names of extinct butterfly species, whispered in Latin.
The sound recordings of butterfly wings were recorded in Lund in collaboration with Associate Professor Per Henningsson at Animal Flight Lab, Lund University. The recorded butterflies are Black-veined moth (Siona lineata) and Large skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus).
The struggling world - the struggling ear
Sanne Krogh Groth, Director Sound Environment Centre, 2021
“Unless we learn to listen broadly, we may miss the biggest story of life on earth: symbiogenesis, the co-making of living things. Practices of storytelling matter.”
(Tsing, Swanson, Gan & Bubandt: Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, 2017, M8)
Living with climate crisis has become an everyday endeavor. Most decisions we take have an impact on the harmony of our global ecology. The decision to buy a plane ticket, to eat meat or to buy new clothes are just a few of the everyday concerns and dilemmas of living on a damaged planet. Everyday living and consumption have become more than a response to our basic needs or pleasure. They have become an ethical and ecological question that balances individual health, well-being and joy on the one side, and local and global ecologies on the other. To live in such balance, a sensitivity towards the changing world is needed. This is how we welcome you to the sound bench and to Metamorphosis (2021).
With the installation of the sound bench in Lund, we wish to bring attention to a specific site and to matters, that we might not would have cared for without it. As a “silent” sculpture, the bench provides focality to the site and invites us to inhabit it by taking seat. When sound emits from it, we are encouraged not only to pay passive auditory attention, but also to act. Depending on the sounds we are exposed to, our way of listening and behaving changes. A steady rhythm can encourage us to bodily movement, while a well-known tune can bring forth memories and nostalgia. The sound of human voices invites us to identify language and to imagine the people making the sound, and sound scenography composed from recorded everyday sounds can help us imagine a certain place, and maybe even transport us mentally in time.
In the sound work Metamorphosis (2021), sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard invites the listener to engage in a careful and sensitive listening act. With its many pauses and limited sound material played at a low volume, the piece appears open and airy. To be able to hear the quiet whisper of the names of extinct butterflies, one truly has to make an effort – to be quiet and to direct the listening completely to the sounds appearing from the bench. More distinct and louder sounds in the piece are the recordings of the flapping of butterfly wings that constitute a dynamic contrast to the whispering. The sound from this sound art work never becomes dominant: As soon as a car passes, the rain starts or a group of chatting people walks by, the sound from the bench is under threat and our contemplation and careful attunement to the fragile composition are disrupted. All too easily, the sounds drown in what seems like an unfair fight against its surroundings.
Metamorphosis reminds us of the struggling world, and how much is demanded from us, to let our own struggling ear engage with it. We have to withdraw and yet listen actively for its voice to be heard.
Famous Danish sound artist (b. 1975)
Graduated from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany in 2006.
Sound-artist-in-residence at the University of Oxford, UK in 2016.
Kirkegaard has performed and exhibited his work at museums, festivals and conferences around the world, including MoMA, Issue Project Room, Rothko Chapel (USA), CTM (DE), Mori Art Museum, Super Deluxe (JP), Sydney Biennale ( AUS), LOUISIANA, ARoS, Museum of Contemporary Art (DK).
Kirkegaard is also a member of the sound collective freq_out, established by CM von Hausswolff. His work has been released on record companies such as Important Records v (USA) and Touch (UK).