Winderen’s work, titled Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux, is a symphonic collage of interwoven layers, exploring what she refers to as the “disharmony” between the audible and the visible. It encompasses the indigenous sounds of the Vallée de Joux, from the 300-year-old slow growing spruce trees of the Risoud forest, known for their excellent sound transmission properties, to a plethora of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants. The piece also notes the inescapable sound of human activity, highlighting the fragility of the environment, as well as humanity’s part in its gradual degradation. Considering Winderen’s role as an investigator, Daniela Zyman, chief curator of TBA21, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, asks: “how [does one] listen or un-listen to the sounds of highways, the air traffic hovering over the skies, the humming and buzzing of cities and human agglomeration spilling over what we perceive with our eyes as pristine landscapes?”
Winderen’s composition results from two comprehensive visits to the Vallée de Joux forest and lake region, which remind the artist of her native Norway, where she is still based and works today. From the earliest hours of the day to well past dusk, Winderen ventured into the remote Swiss landscape, capturing sounds from across the Vallée’s unique habitat and connecting with the Audemars Piguet family. Winderen used hydrophones, an ultrasound detector and other highly-sensitive tools to amplify these sounds, making a new dimension of the environment accessible to all.
Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux provides three distinct listening experiences, creating a simultaneously far-ranging and intimate sense of the region Audemars Piguet has always called home. The work is first continuously experienced by visitors through loudspeakers across the Lounge. The audience is also invited to listen attentively to the complexity of Winderen’s composition with headphones in the intimacy of the space’s “escape lounge,” designed by Fernando Mastrangelo. The live ambient sounds created by visitors and passers-by converse with the two recorded compositions—a consideration of the ways in which human activities impact environmental sounds. The work thus offers many unique ways of seeing, listening and interacting with our immediate surroundings, while raising ecological awareness.
As Winderen explained: “It is important that I record these sounds myself so that I can carry with me the physicality of the place where they originated: the temperature, the animals I see, the locals I meet. Every time I play them, the memories come back, forming a larger narrative in my mind. The audience will not hear this. They will develop their own associations with these sounds and I like the openness that sounds can have.”
The performance complementing Winderen’s installation took place in HeK’s new state-of-the-art concert hall, Veranstaltungsraum, which offers international artists an outstanding acoustic sound system for their work, while contributing to redefining the present-day musical landscape. Winderen was positioned within the crowd, breaking down the hierarchy between artist and viewer, composer and listener, and played to 250 visitors, who experienced the complex sounds from the Vallée de Joux’s central ecosystems.
The next iteration of Winderen’s site-specific sound composition for Audemars Piguet will be presented at Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2019.