Artists 2016

Carsten Höller

Carsten Höller

Carsten Höller


One, Some, Many, 2016 (detail)
speech synthesiser, dimensions variable
courtesy the artist and EVA International,photo © Rob Collins

 

Biography

Carsten Höller uses his training as a scientist in his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships. Born in Brussels in 1961, he now lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden and Biriwa, Ghana. His major installations include Test Site, a series of giant slides for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall (2006), Amusement Park - an installation of full-size funfair rides turning and moving at very slow speed at MASS MoCA, North Adams, USA (2006), Flying Machine (1996), a work which hoists the viewer through the air, Upside-Down Goggles, an experiment with goggles which modify vision, and the famous The Double Club (2008-2009) in London, which opened in November 2008 and closed in July 2009, took the form of a bar, restaurant and nightclub designed to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western culture. His Revolving Hotel Room, 2008, a rotating art installation which becomes a fully operational hotel room at night, was shown as part of theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 2009. For his 2015 exhibition Decision at the Hayward Gallery, he has turned the whole building into an experimental parcours with two entrances and four exits, two of them slides. His works have been shown internationally over the last two decades, including solo exhibitions at Fondazione Prada, Milan (2000), the ICA Boston (2003), Musée d'Art Contemporain, Marseille (2004), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2008), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010), Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011), New Museum, New York (2011) and TBA 21, Vienna (2014). Upcoming is his installation Doubt in the enormous spaces of Hangar Bicocca, Milan (opens April 6).

Statement

His major installations include Test Site, a series of giant slides for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall (2006), Amusement Park – an installation of full-size funfair rides turning and moving at very slow speed at MASS MoCA, North Adams, USA (2006), Flying Machine (1996), a work which hoists the viewer through the air, Upside-Down Goggles, an experiment with goggles which modify vision, and the famous The Double Club (2008–09) in London, which opened in November 2008 and closed in July 2009, took the form of a bar, restaurant and nightclub designed to create a dialogue between Congolese and Western culture.

His Revolving Hotel Room (2008), a rotating art installation that becomes a fully operational hotel room at night, was shown as part of theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 2009. For his 2015 exhibition Decision at the Hayward Gallery, he turned the whole building into an experimental parcours, with two entrances and four exits, two of them slides.

Höller undertook a research visit to Limerick in preparation for EVA International 2016 to develop a site-specific audio sensitive installation across three biennial sites. The installation is an entirely new work that consists of three freestanding microphones that capture a live feed of sound from visitors, triggering a voice recognition system and a playback system that can only be activated when the trigger words are mentioned across the biennial sites. As the microphones captures the speech from visitors, voice-recognition software and programmed hardware analyses the words spoken and the speakers transmits pre-programmed responses to the audience.

The voice-recognition software responds to the words ‘one’, ‘some’, and ‘many’. The words were selected according to their frequency of use in the English language and because of their significance when arranged in the following order: ‘one, some, many’, or ‘one plus everything’. If one of the key words is uttered by someone in one of the installations, the pitch of the words change from low to high to very high, so high that the word in the end becomes almost indiscernible.

The work also implements a sense of doubt as the programme corrects the visitor, exploring the range of meaning between ‘one’ and ‘some’ and ‘some’ and ‘many’, and finally ‘many’ and ‘one’. For example, when the word ‘one’ is recognized by the system, it corrects with a response of ‘some’.

One, Some, Many (2016) plays with the exhibition venues as visually empty and open spaces that can be instantly transformed by sound. The visitor’s encounter with the sound from microphones allows for what could be described as an ‘increased capacity of hearing’, both for visitor and for the technical device: emphasizing the aural experience of presence.

www.airdeparis.com

www.gagosian.com

 

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