Illumination, the voice of the daytime


It happens to be outdoors, eyes are closed and ears listen to the sounds of nature. The wind moves through the trees, maybe a few animals, the passage of some sort of waterway and, above all, the flow of time. It is in the moments when we allow ourselves a little time that we can think about time as an existing entity, silent, constant, completely autonomous and indifferent to anything. Ethereal. Often we do not understand, however, the real weight of many things, the physicality of multiple physical phenomena, our eyes are not made to see the movement of time or the spread of sound. Our senses are used to reactions that we are able to explain through logic or observation, and occasionally through knowledge. To go beyond these barriers, there is art. Christian Skjødt is a Danish artist and composer who has accustomed us to the physicality and aesthetics of sound, often recreated or re-proposed in immersive, responsive environments that explore that translation of physical phenomena into sound. At SKAN II in 2014 Skjødt created Illumination, a work conceived to specifically study a small area of the botanical garden of Riga. On the gentle slopes of a green hill, 110 autonomous analog solar systems collect the sun’s energy and carry this underground into an 18th century cellar, in the form of sound. The cellar, with its dim lighting and domed ceiling becomes a stage for multiple sounds from speakers tuned to 440 Hz in conditions of the full light of the outdoors sensors. Each sensor becomes the voice, until then unheard, of a single chorus, never the same during the hours of the day or with changes in the weather. A clumsy but charming symphony, as with the unaware screams of a newborn baby. It’s the day that speaks. Benedetta Sabatini


Christian Skjødt – Illumination