Text by Steve Pantazis
Indonesian-Chinese artist Angie Atmadjaja, who is based in Manchester and had last summer a solo exhibition at the Chinese Arts Centre, is a sound artist, whose work TILT will be exhibited at the upcoming 4th Guangzhou Triennial in China beginning 29 September 2012. TILT was presented for the first time at the Aomori Contemporary Art Centre in Japan in 2010 and is a white space whose floor is slightly tilted and a pale line appears at eye level on the wall at close proximity, disappearing when moving towards the centre of the space. The viewer experiences throughout his body a heavy low-pitched sound, which is coming and going, based on the viewer’s position and speed of travel in the space.
Steve Pantazis: When you first exhibited TILT in Japan, you took into consideration the architecture of Aomori Contemporary Art Centre. Do you feel that your work is site-specific?
Angie Atmadjaja: I have always loved Tadao Ando’s vision in how he aims to bring harmony between nature and human intervention. In the case of Aomori Contemporary Art Centre, it’s a structure that is very much placed in the heart of a forest, hidden from view unless one ventures deeper into it. I was very much seduced by this idea and at the same time, it relates very much with my own practice.
There are sound artists who investigate sound through its sonic properties that refer to memories and direct relations to a specific environment and particular sound source. I do not share these concerns. I investigate sinewaves and filtered noise through their physical properties, how they respond to a particular space and to the bodies encountering them. By working with this physical phenomenon, I am containing the experience of moments. Visitors do not enter the work to perceive beyond their peripheral selves, they are instead made aware of their own perception; how their height, body weight, shape of their ears and the way they walk influence their perception. The experience of each observer becomes the object of the art.
Regarding the site, I wanted to create a clean, empty space with minimal visual information; an environment that moves the focus away from the eyes, an invisible work, influenced by the site. In a way, the work is site-specific because at the end of the exhibition, the work was completely destroyed. At that moment, TILT was understood to be site-specific but on invitation by Jiang Jiehong, the co-curator of 4th Guangzhou Triennial, TILT has now shifted to be a site-dependent work. Despite retaining the principle idea and creation process, in the Guangdong Museum of Art, the work will relate to the new acoustic dimensions of the given site.
SP: How different TILT will appear in China?
AA: In Japan, a window was left uncovered, allowing the outside environment to enter the work. In China, the visual information in TILT is entirely artificial, thus offering a different experience. The artificiality is accentuated to keep the awareness away from sight and thus encourage a heightened awareness to the subtle changes in the sound and gravitational tilts in the body.
SP: How do you see your work developing in the future?
AA: I am currently preparing my studio at Dean Clough Mills, where I am drawing by hand vertical and horizontal lines, spaced at 10cm apart on the walls and floor, thus creating a grid, for a series of works I will be creating in the next few months. In this series of works, I will be investigating playful and humorous engagement of complex physical aural structures. One of the series will contain a collection of physical sound origami.
Steve Pantazis is an Associate Editor at Versita Publishing and has published and presented papers relevant to the work of the Greek Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis.