DOUBLE BIND PLAYER

Grand pianos, steel, mechanical objects, sound electronics.

 

Concept, music and performance: Sidén Hedman duo

Sculpure: Birgitta Muhr

First performance: Museum of Modern Art Stockholm

 

For a short Moment in time and space, a unique concert installation spanning several artistic disciplines will be presented. One of the museum’s rooms will be transformed into a sacral, acoustic and visual totality. The grand piano, with its beautiful wing shape, expands musically and visually through electronics, mechanics and sculpture.

 

The total work of art Double Bind Player is a collaboration between the composer and pianist Eva Sidén, the electro-acoustic composer Jens Hedman, and the visual artist Birgitta Muhr, moving beyond the traditional concert and exhibition formats, and expanding the audience-performer relationship.  Two years ago, Eva and Jens began working together as a duo, trying out alternative concert situations and new contexts for their music. The spatial experience is always crucial. Birgitta Muhr is a visual artist with many exhibitions and public commissions on her CV. She sees rhythm, motion and musicality as her fundamental creative elements.  She also has a strong connection to dance. 

 

Two grand pianos are at the core of this work, both musically and visually. The grand piano is an instrument laden with prestige and tradition, in stark contrast to the light-hearted game in which it is engaged here.  As if drawing in space, externalising the motion of the notes, long sculptural metal feelers extend from and around the grand piano.   The objects extract new notes from the piano and contribute to drawing the audience into the instrument.  The sound enveloping the visitors in the room takes place on several levels. They all originate in the grand piano. It is an intricate technique, where electronically-processed audio is mixed with mechanically produced sounds in a specially-composed piece that will be heard constantly in the room throughout this period. During the concerts, which take place on several occasions, a purely human level is added when Eva Sidén plays, and relates to, the prepared grand piano as a physical object.    

 

The title Double Bind Player refers to Gregory Bateson’s theory of the double bind.  This theory is used in communication studies, but also in Buddhism and psychoanalysis.  The installation encompasses a number of contradictory parameters; mechanical/corporal, electronics/instruments, and music/unstructured sound.  

 

During the summer 2012, we connect with the playful and experimental 1960s of the museum. Our Explosion! exhibition features paintings that transcend all genres. Yoko Ono: Grapefruit features works by the pioneer Yoko Ono. She belonged to the Fluxus movement, which aimed to dissolve the borders between art and the vernacular. In the 1960s, mixing art disciplines, using new media in music and visual art, and dissolving the boundary between stage and audience were all new and astonishing phenomena. Double Bind Player utilises all these strategies, while maintaining a firm footing in our contemporary culture.

 

Double Bind Player invites the audience to a unique experience, in a work that raises many questions. When does this concert start, and when does it end? Who is playing? What is making the sounds? Are the sounds visible? Is the format audible?

 

 

PERFORMANCES

 

Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, Sweden - September 2012

 

Fylkingen, Stockholm, Sweden - March 2013

 

Sandviken Art Galleri, Sandviken, Sweden - October-November 2013

 

CPFL cultura, Campinas, Brazil - April 2014 

 

Norrköping Art Museum, Norrköping, Sweden - May 2015

 

Abrons Art Center, New York, USA - June 2015

 

 

Photos: Albin Dahlström

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