The Indigenous Sounds of the Swiss Countryside Will Reverberate Through Art Basel in an Eco-Conscious Art Installation

A one-night performance will accompany the installation.

Jana Winderen made several trips to Switzerland's Lac de Joux where she recorded sounds from nature. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.
Jana Winderen made several trips to Switzerland's Lac de Joux where she recorded sounds from nature. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

When we think about the environment we think about the earth looks and feels, but do we ever think about the way it sounds? For Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, this is something to consider. 

At Art Basel 2019, Winderen will debut an installation entitled Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux, a sound work composed of the carefully recorded endangered sounds of the Swiss Jura Mountains.

Winderen uses a variety of speakers and tools to amplfy sounds to bring to life sounds typically inaudible to the human ear. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Winderen uses a variety of speakers and tools to amplify sounds to bring to life sounds typically inaudible to the human ear. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Commissioned by luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet (which calls this region home), the installation was composed over multiple visits to the Vallée de Joux’s forest and lake region during many different seasons. There, Winderen captured sounds that are both accessible and typically inaccessible to the human ear. Using hydrophones, an ultrasound detector, and other tools, the artists amplified these sounds to bring an unheard world of natural life to listeners’ ears.

Jana Winderen in the Swiss countryside. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Jana Winderen in the Swiss countryside. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

One can expect to hear the bristling of 300-year-old evergreen trees in the wind and noises made by fish at the depths of Lac de Joux, among other familiar and unfamiliar sounds. For Winderen, the emotive power of sound has the ability to make people aware of how human activity compromises these environments and the earth’s fragile state.

Jana Winderen in the Swiss countryside. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

Jana Winderen in the Swiss countryside. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

“I carefully ‘listen with’ and to the creatures around us, paying attention to how they interact with the environmeny,” said Winderen. “Through this focused listening, I also start to notice my immediate surrounding.”

Intended as an immersive experience, the work will be installed in a lounge designed by Brooklyn-based designer Fernando Mastrangelo that incorporates experiential elements of the Vallée de Joux landscape. There, visitors will be able to listen to Winderen’s work either publicly over speakers, or privately, via headsets installed in the lounge. 

The Fernando Mastrangelo-designed lounge was inspired by Switerzland's landscape. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

The Fernando Mastrangelo-designed lounge was inspired by Switzerland’s landscape. Courtesy of Audemars Piguet.

The sound installation will be also accompanied by a one-night public performance, organized in collaboration with HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel). Details on the performance are sparse (the artist wants guests to arrive with an open mind), but the piece will last approximately 40 minutes and will feature her sound recordings in a manner distinct from the installation.

The performance accompanying Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux will take place on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 10 p.m. at HeK (House of Electronic Arts Basel), Freilager-Platz 9, Basel, Ch-4142.


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