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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

14_10_21 - Meta Incognita

Thomas Koner 'Daikan' & 'Permafrost'


Listening to ‘Permafrost’ - I am sat with my headphones on, nice and big noise cancellation ones. I felt it only right to enclose the sound directly and intimately with myself. As I type this the encroaching horror of wisping ghost like cries continuously stretches itself across the plane of my hearing receptors’. I feel like there is a building of something, there is movement happening, but it isn’t just quite getting to its climax, and I do not think it will. It reminds me of that feeling, one that I have explored within my own work (check out ‘Moment’ 2019 – the 40ft corridor) where the movement through the work (or in this case the receiving sound) is always in a state of anticipation. It is a sense of something is driving the body to push through this alterity and that at some point we will reach an end, but a doubt is there, a worry of ‘is there an end?’. Breaks occur from time to time, quieter moments appear as the heavy pulsating bass drifts down, but it is then replaced with a low faint like ‘nothingness’, an intangible sound, a sound that is easier on the ears but still gives recognition to the notion of the never-ending spatial sound. The horror journey continues but via a new form sound.


*Returning to the piece – I later returned to the piece(s) to see if I could embody the sound to another intimate level. I closed my eyes and entered a meditative state. Sat on a cushioned plinth I let the sound envelop me and take control. What I noticed was my body beginning to rock back and forth slowly, it was moving to the pulsating drone of the bass hums. An unconscious movement occurred, and I allowed it to happen. My visual design didn’t see stood anywhere but instead just visual thoughts of a monochrome cold and desolate landscape appeared. A black rock like floor with patches of pure white snow, contrasting off one another and a tight angle of thick haze stretched across and into the distance. At times a light could be seen, pulsating slowly just on the edge of the bottom of the thick haze. A wind through my eyes across the landscape, but I fought against it, I pushed hard to not be swept away and always remaining at the starting visual point.


What I find very interesting and somewhat exciting is how Köner has instilled in his audience a way to be your own landscape architect by visually creating an area of nature with the use of sound. That concept of building a landscape via the use of sound unfolds new thoughts on how I can reimagine the Arctic in a new form.


Although each piece by Köner is over the five-minute mark, making it not your typical three minutes and thirty second pieces the work communicates a much longer, in-depth formation of sound. The work clearly communicates notions of time and space through a motion that is a temporal enfolding. Each element of the compositions drift and fluctuate between varying sounds levels, making movements that are either straight, wavey or pulsating. These formations of sound communicate the texture and space of the landscape as well as its consistent shift. My professor but it clearly to me recently by stating that the Arctic is a landscape that is ever changing, it dissolves, it reforms, elements break off, there is a fragile uncertainty to this shifting territory. I hear this via Köner’s pieces, but because we are our own architects to this landscape that landscape can’t be a solid structure as such, we may create a land base, but all other natural elements are intangible, and the sound’s movement makes them an alterity.


For me this way of communicating a visual experience via sound is somewhat unsettling. Your ear receptors are performing in a way that your eyes should do. That is somewhat complicated but to put that into an art context and the use of installations, the sensory overload to an audience could be impactful. Sound and space and nothing else within the installation, the audience imagination will create the landscape…. Does this link to humanity discovering new landscapes? Do we become our own heroic conqueror? Does Terra incognita not exist anymore?





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