Øystein Wyller Odden works with installations and objects, often in combination with sound and music. His works deal with the relationships between technology, architecture, and humans, and consist of attempts to explore and expose underlying structures in this material.
Many of Wyller Odden’s works take shape as audio-visual compositions that investigate trance-like sensory experiences aided by simple audio-visual stimuli. By keeping the means few and visible, the thought is to let the audience have such sensory experiences while at the same time being conscious of the premises of these experiences.
For the exhibition Hinsides isen / Beyond the ice at Telemark Kunstsenter (TKS), Odden has made a new composition for the art centre’s rooms in the old Bank of Norway in Skien. The point of departure for the composition is the electric mains’ own frequency. The current in all electricity sockets in Scandinavia switches polarity at the same time, approximately 50 times every second. The frequency manifests a tone of 50 Hz, which is close to a deep G, and it is often experienced with a rich spectrum of overtones. The sound is emitted by most electronic devices and thereby makes up the lion’s share of what we know as silence. Thus, the sound is also a keynote for the electric civilization, and a bourdon tone that has underpinned the technological development of the last century.
In Norway, Statnett works at keeping this tone stabile. Electricity cannot be stored in any large format; when consumption increases, more water needs to flow through the turbines so that the frequency will not become too low. Conversely, when the consumption is low, one has to limit the production; if not, the generators will run too fast and the frequency will become too high. In such manner, the tone fluctuates around the ideal 50 Hz in a constant balancing of supply and demand.
In the former banking hall at TKS, Wyller Odden has re-mounted the bank’s old chandeliers. Onto these four chandeliers, Odden has mounted vibration elements, so called Bass Pumps. These are originally meant to be fixed beneath chairs and seats, for instance in order to give the home theatre or car a feeling of loud bass. The vibration elements are plugged straight into the mains so that they make the chandeliers vibrate with the frequency of the alternating current. The chandeliers are hoisted to different heights, so that the suspension wires resonate with the frequency of the current and produce different overtones. Small alterations in the keynote will determine how the wires resonate, and, in extension, which overtones will be prominent. In this way, Wyller Odden has transformed the room into a musical instrument that changes according to the relationship between power consumption and power production.
In addition, Wyller Odden presents the sound work Mains Hum (Skien kirke). This work also takes the sound of electricity as a starting point, and consists of an organ composition based on the noise of the electrical system of the Skien church’s speaker system. The piece is built from an analysis and transcription of this noise, and performed on the church organ by Jørn Tore Egseth and Øystein Wyller Odden together with the noise from the speakers.
In the project room, the installation Invokasjon (komposisjon for laservater og linjal) / Invocation (composition for laser level and ruler) is shown. This consists of a ceiling fan to which a laser level has been attached, and a ruler hanging from a string. The laser level draws a circle on the floor of an otherwise darkened room. The suspended ruler functions as a variation of the ancient instrument called a bullroarer. This instrument has been found in different cultures all over the world, and has, due to its powerful bass sound, been used (among other things) for communication over long distances, as well as a trance inducing, ceremonial instrument.
Øystein Wyller Odden (B. 1983 at Notodden) has been educated at the Oslo National Academy of Fine Art, and has previously exhibited at exhibition spaces such as Fotogalleriet, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Tegneforbundet, Nordnorsk Kunstnersenter, and Kurant.
[T.Ø.1]Dette sitatet ser nok litt annerledes ut enn det norske, men det er altså den «offisielle» Engelske oversettelsen av Geoffrey Winthorp-Young og Michael Wutz fra 1999. Jeg har også beholdt deres tegnsetting, selv om jeg ville ha gjort det annerledes selv. Si i fra hvis dere heller vil at jeg skal gjøre en direkte oversettelse av det norske sitatet! [Kan sikkert finne den tyske originalen og ta det derfra også, dersom det skulle være ønskelig…]