Together with Federico Placidi, Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir is coming to Bodø with the project LUCID. She is a sound and visual artist based in Reykjavík Iceland. She studied music from an early age and graduated as a classical pianist. Then she immediately turned to the field of contemporary sound and art. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague Thoranna has worked as a video and performance artist in the electroacoustic field; working with different medium she realizes her work through film, performances and installations. Þóranna also works as a composer and performance artist with the art group Wunderland; creating experiences, performances and workshops.
Federico Placidi is a composer and sound artist based in Rome, Italy. He graduated as a Double bass player from Conservatorio di S.Cecilia and in Composition & Electronic Music from the Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. Together with sound designer Matteo Milani he founded the collective U.S.O. Project aka “Unidentified Sound Object”, an electroacoustic music group, open to collaborations and interactions with other musicians. As a double bass player, cellist and synthesist, Federico plays in both concerts and improvisation sessions. He’s currently teaching Electronic Music as a professor at the “Saint Louis College of Music” in Rome.
The festival theme is «truth?». Can music be true? Is this something you are struggling with in your compositions?
Music can truly enliven us to wonder. It is more a question of; in what does an aesthetic experience of music reside? and what effect does it have on our inner life?
I am a practising artist and art teacher. I am born in Iceland and have lived there for most of my life. I was raised in an environment where music played a very important role. In my family, we played musical instruments and sang. I was strongly influenced by this and decided to study music myself. During the course of my studies, I sought out different genres of music. After finishing a final exam as a classical pianist from FÍH (Musician’s Union School of Iceland) I wanted to broaden my mind and wished to explore how different forms of art can interact. Therefore, I applied for continuing studies at the ArtScience department between the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) and the Royal Conservatoire (KC) in The Hague, where my thoughts about a multidisciplinary approach to art were put to the test. My department arranged projects within the two schools and there I got the opportunity to develop my mind and skills further, as well as experiment with various ways of composition and combinations of different materials, visual as well as sonic and musical. During this time I acquired a deeper understanding of electronic music and discovered new and exciting ways of musical composition.
In Holland, I learned to take independent decisions regarding the development, execution and realization of my own works, as well as to increase my sensitivity toward my own intuition and imagination. Intuition is the most important aspect of art creation. Between the moment an idea is born and the point where you have realized a fully developed work lies a long and demanding process where you have to trust your intuition and allow space for it until all the different parts that make up your work come together. The final work thus becomes an extension of oneself, a representation of different ideas, skills, dreams and personal characteristics that blend together or materialize in a tangible or listenable form. These are my nuances of truth.
Can you tell us about your piece LUCID?
LUCID is as an artistic collaboration between Þóranna Björnsdóttir and Federico Placidi. Their friendship and collaboration started when they were both residents at the CCMIX (Centre de creation musicale Iannis Xenakis) in Paris in 2007. It has been developed and finalized in the domain of interactive electroacoustic performance and as a recording project. Smekkleysa, (SM/Bad Taste) in Iceland, now releases it as a double vinyl album, as well as digitally.
Þóranna and Federico collected earthy sound material in Iceland; characterized by natural steam vents, tumbling lava rocks and boiling hissing clay. In Rome, they extracted and sculpted from this material and developed the piece musically; using hybrid analogue/digital tools that integrate into a single creative goal different fields of music production.
Chapters A, Singularity, and B, Main Sequence, on the first LP are about creation and cosmology. The second LP is about consciousness, chapter C, Interior, being a metaphor of the human state of consciousness and chapter D, Lost time, is the path to full awareness of consciousness.
The work aims to bind together two different geographical and cultural domains. These two geographical constraints produce different human beings, and the music produced is a dialogue between two souls, which are trying to unify both vision, aesthetics, and purposes.
“LUCID is a word which describes a state of consciousness, an epiphany where the substance of reality it is revealed; the power and energy of nature in its raw untamed force and the spiritual energy field that bind everything, soul and matter, together … LUCID means REAL.”
How do you work when collecting your sounds, what do you listen for?
I have worked extensively with sound. From a very young age, I have played a game where I hunt for or isolate sounds in the environment, which I subsequently analyse. Sounds are exiting phenomena; they ignite myriad images and associations inside oneself. In order to work with sound as an artistic medium, you first need to listen. The nature of sonic art is multi-disciplinary and there are innumerable ways to work within this form.
I often become enthralled with a particular sound and when I have captured this in a recording, I work with its texture and variations in a musical way. In this manner, I allow the sound to speak to me and that which appears within me when I listen to this sound has a determining effect on the final outcome of the work. The acoustic world is at the forefront of my art, regardless of whether I engage with sonic/musical works or visual works and sculptures.
You present yourself as both a sound and visual artists. What thoughts do you have about the composer’s role in the further development of the music and art field?
My work as an artist is centred on multidisciplinary methods and approaches. I commonly engage with multiple media in my work and seek to allow my ideas to develop the approach to the subject matter, as I see fit each time. My inspiration comes from many sources: science, philosophy, daily life, art, the weather and nature, as well as from my emotional life. I base my work on a desire for beauty and lust for life; to experience my full humanity and natural being, and that which I experience in the twilight, on the border of light and darkness. I try to live and create with an open mind and heart and explore my environment in an investigative manner, paying close attention to the phenomena around me.
Lucid is a word which describes a state of consciousness, an epiphany where the substance of reality it is revealed; the power and energy of nature in its raw untamed force and the spiritual energy field that bind everything, soul and matter, together……Lucid means Real.
Lucid is as an artistic collaboration between Þóranna Björnsdóttir and Federico Placidi. It has been developed and finalized in the domain of interactive electro-acoustic performance and as a recording project. The work aims to bind together two different geographical and cultural domains. These two geographical constraints, produce, different human beings, and the music produced is a dialogue between two souls which are trying to unify both vision, aesthetics, and purposes.
Þóranna and Federico collected earthy sound material in Iceland; characterised by natural steam vents, tumbling lava rocks and boiling hissing clay. In Rome they extracted and sculpted from this material and developed the piece musically; using hybrid analogue/digital tools that integrate into a single creative goal different fields of music production.
Lucid is released (as a double vinyl album and digitally) by Smekkleysa SM/Bad Taste in Iceland.