Maia Urstad will premiere her new live performance “Time Pockets” on 29 April at the Oscillation festival in Brussels. Urstad worked on the performance in her recent studio residency at BEK.
“Time Pockets” is a new live performance that Maia Urstad developed for presentation at the Oscillation festival. The title of the work refers to “spare time between tasks”. These ”pockets” offer time for listening; the audience is invited into an ambient soundscape of sound recordings from our everyday surroundings. These are sounds that often go unnoticed. Some of these are on the verge of becoming obsolete: multilingual recordings from announcements on trains, stations, the radio or public speakers; brief information or instructions such as numbers, train announcements, directions, news, or information about time and place. Also featured is their surrounding soundscape: ethereal waves, interference, machine noise, railway tracks, hiss, wind or silence, or ”just” a spatial presence.
The material for the live performance is gleaned from a selection of Urstad’s previous sound installations. Urstad distributes the sound to a series of full tone speakers and to FM radios. During her studio residency at BEK, the artist was exploring how to switch between these two sound spaces or qualities – noisy FM radios and high quality full tone speakers. She was experimenting with combining materials from her earlier sound installations with a new, temporal work performed live and functioning as a crossover between an installation and a concert.
Maia Urstad is an artist based in Bergen, Norway working at the intersection of audio and visual art. She studied at the Bergen National Academy of the Arts. Technological progress and communications technology are pervasive themes in her projects, using radio as a key audio, visual and conceptual element, commenting on the temporary nature of present technology, and what traces and stories we leave behind when new inventions enter our daily lives. She has been an active contributor to the Norwegian and international contemporary art scene since the mid-80s, and in 2017 was appointed as City Sound Artist of Bonn, Germany. In 2019, she was awarded the Rune Brynestad Memorial Grant, and her work MURMUR, partially developed at BEK, was acquired by the Norwegian National Museum in 2020.
Photos: 1, 3–6) Process images from Maia Urstad’s studio residency at BEK; 2) Maia Urstad with Roar Sletteland, who made the bespoke matrix mixer that Urstad is using. All photos by BEK.