video & slideshow
Rafael Lippuner & Dimitri Fischer
Bell tower, polling booths,
August – October 2017
NEW SOUNDS ON OLD BELLS – THE PURPOSE OF POPULAR MELODIES IN PUBLIC
During the NEOSCOPE exhibition, an intervention was proposing to play new and atypic sounds on the Carillon (a chime consisting of 25 bells) in the local bell tower. From there, the tunes and jingles were audible on a central square in the old town of Zofingen, located nearby Kunsthaus.
The proposed sounds represent a colorful mixture of "modernized" alternatives to religious and march songs, most notably alarm / ring tunes and jingles of mobile devices. Further, the library contains soundtracks of movies and video games, jingles, as well as hip-hop and rock tracks. The visitors of the exhibition were able to listen to the original songs at Kunsthaus, where they where asked about their favourite piece and submit their vote. During two months, the TOP 3 of the charts were played live on the Carillon each Saturday.
Experiencing the work in all facets wasn't that easy, as its presentation was hold restrictive. It broke both with the classic tradition of perceiving art, as well as the comfortable staging of concerts, and rather meandered randomly through the alleys of the village. The attendants of the museum could not hear what their selected song sounds like on a specific instrument such as the Carillon, and if they wanted to know they had to come again and visit it on-site.
This separation between voters and listeners / receivers was a deliberate decision, as the artists wanted to point at this dichotomy.
On that way, the institute remained institution: A place of administration and discussion, directing somewhat the waves of how art is transmitted.
The surprised passenger, who walks by and listens to the sounds by accident is equally important to the participating visitor.
Who decides about what we are listening to?
Though the obscure sounds managed to bring a smile to many listener's face, the project issues a critical topic: Public insonification, and its political aspects. The "new" sounds are therefor a provocation, pointing at the dimension and attitude of sound - space, used for instruction by state, religion or military.
This zone was in the hands of the public for the duration of the exhibition, highlighting different tastes within different generations, and reinforce the notion that most individuals have become a public sound system themself, through mobile gadgetry.
For its multitude of implications, and the love of sounds, both artists hope to continue this project and the topic of public insonification in one way or another.
In the near future, it seems that this culture will not run out of bell instruments and pipe organs (and churches in general, for that matter) who are in need for any kind of "population", and why not (re-)fill those voids with an approach to art?