' Collecting Connections '
Solo Show at the Agency gallery, London, March 2013
Janek Schaefer, Gallery 1 and 2
The Agency is pleased to present a solo exhibition by award winning sound artist Janek Schaefer in Gallery 1 and 2. A version of his seminal sonic installation 'Extended Play' [Triptych for the child survivors of war and conflict] will be presented in Gallery 2. In Gallery 1 a number of Schaefer's recent and new sound pieces, collages and inter-media sculptures can be seen in a curated context. Schaefer's central concerns are sound and its environment. He utilises hybrid analogue and digital techniques to manipulate location recordings, modified vinyl and foundsound to create evocative and involving installations. Schaefer's sonic works are responsive and reactive within urban environments. Schaefer's works have demonstrated an acute sensibility to the sonic aspects of utilitarian architecture, such as abandoned supermarkets ('Asleep at The Wheel', 2010, International festival, Milton Keynes), roofs on iconic public buildings ('Rapture' is a site-specific choreography performed on the undulating roof-scapes of the Frank Gehry designed Fisher Center, New York, 2008) or simply the empty room ('Vacant Space', 2006, with Chris Watson and David Tinapple at the Bluecoat gallery and touring). Schaefer's practice shows influences of the European strategies of Peter Weibel's Contextual Art ('Kontextkunst', 1993) and Nicholas Bourriaud ('Relational Aesthetics', 2002).
In Britain Sonic art has been addressed largely as an extension of musical composition although Schaefer's work can be read as a sonic mapping of contextual events and surroundings, including the wider social aspects of his practice. His works take simple everyday narratives as a starting point, for example a family connection as in 'Love Song' (2003/2013), an exploration of all the female protagonists of one family brought together by the sound of their voices. Seven voices of female members of one family from the age of 7 to 64 were recorded and overlap in the subsequent piece, which is transmitted to radio headphones suspended from a cluster of helium filled balloons. The audience has to catch and hold onto the headphones to experience the composition. The piece combines a personal narrative, an archival sonic record of a family, an ephemeral sculpture and an incidental performance element, each of which in turn alters the way the space surrounding the work is experienced. Schaefer's foundsound collages extend beyond the simple field recording, for example when working with analogue radio in his piece for multiple radios 'Phoenix and Phaedra holding patterns' (2009).
At all times combining knowing literal references to contemporary events laced with wit and pathos Schaefer infuses each of his contextual pieces with a nod to Hannah Arendt's 'Human Condition' (1958). It is the underlying awareness of the fragility of the self in relation to socio-political needs which are the foundation of some his more thought-provoking interactive works.
link to Agency gallery exhibition page
Featured the works in this exhibition
Sound Scribe & Recording Drawings
That was the year that was . . . .
[1999 triptych collage]
view of instal at Semibreve festival, Portugal 2013
view of instal at CCA Glasgow 2012
Janek Schaefer was born in 1970. He studied architecture at the Royal College
. In 2008 he won the British Composer of the Year Award and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Composers. While studying architecture at the Royal College of Art, he recorded the fragmented noises of a sound activated dictaphone travelling overnight through the Post Office. That work, titled 'Recorded Delivery' 1995 was shown in 'Self Storage' with Brian Eno and Artangel. "Janek Schaefer's first sound-work, 'Recorded Delivery', remains one of the wittiest and most interesting in the field of Sound Art. It is elegant, economical and clever, and makes me wish I'd thought of it first." Brian Eno . Since then Schaefer has had many sound releases, installations, created soundtracks for exhibitions and concerts using his self-built/invented record players with manipulated found sound collage. He has appeared widely throughout Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, ICA], USA/Canada [The Walker, XI, Mutek, Princeton], Japan, Sydney Opera House in Australia . He has featured alongside major artists in his field such as Christian Marclay. He has played in duos and released albums with Philip Jeck (Songs for Europe CD), Robert Hampson (Comae CD), Stephan Mathieu (Hidden Name CD) and Charlemagne Palestine [Day of the Demons LP].