Henrik Frisk (1969) is an active improviser (saxophones and laptop) and composer and professor of music at the Royal Collecge of Music in Stockholm. With a special interest in interactivity, most of the projects he engages in explores that aspect in one way or another. Interaction was also the main topic for his artistic PhD dissertation presented at the Malmö Academy of Music, Lund University in October 2008. Henrik has performed in many countries in Europe, North America and Asia including performances at prestigious festivals such as the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, NYC. As a composer he has received commissions from many institutions, ensembles and musicians. He has made numerous recordings for American, Canadian, Swedish and Danish record labels. Henrik Frisk is currently associate professor at the Malmö Academy of Music and Research Associate at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. As a visiting lecturer he has given lectures at several schools and universities in Europe and North America.
The work at the core of the submission, the installation Oorwonde, makes inquiries into many important artistic, scientific and social areas but many of the topics could have been more fully discussed in the text. Some quite general assertions, though thought-provoking and interesting, are not fully developed. (E.g. ‘The creation and presentation of Oorwonde provided insight into the borders of sound art and its intersection with performance art.’ and ‘Oorwonde showed what parameters are substantial to distinguish art forms from one another and therefore contributed to the development of my analysis tool.’ - both in the Conclusion.) Concerning the analysis tool mentioned in the Conclusion, which was also brought up in the section Sounding Sound Art, I believe that the author’s argument would have been strengthened had the method been described in more detail. And I believe this discussion could be a valid contribution to the field of artistic research where there is a great need for novel and experimental research methods.
The submission does show practice as research but I believe that it would benefit from focusing its scope on one of the topics it brings up, rather than trying to encompass sound art in general. In its current form the exposition raises many important and potentially very interesting questions that are left un-discussed. One such example is the statement (again in the Conclusion) that ‘In contrast to most sound works there is a certain development of the musical and tactile material which the visitor is able to influence.’ What is the nature of this development and what is the artistic significance of this choice?
Although I like the exposition from a purely graphic point of view it is not clear to me how the exposition and layout is related to the subject matter. The references themselves are good but important recent literature on sound art, which could have strengthened and contextualized the submission, is lacking. However, I can see that the author has consciously tried to only reference art works rather than texts on artworks which is a fair choice.
In the introduction the author discusses the changing landscape for musical performance and music listening and the emerging intermediate art forms that arise as a result. If this topic (which is very relevant) would have been more thoroughly investigated through the installation Oorwonde, I believe the submission would have a stronger impact. Another choice would be to leave these more ontological questions aside and in their place the author could describe the artistic implications of Oorwonde — in relation to the work by other artists in the same field as well as other works by the author. In the latter case I would have preferred the exposition to be less traditional (despite the unusual and interesting layout of the text, it loosely follows the format of a traditional research paper) and the theory, practice, empiricism and related work could be more intertwined. At any rate, I believe the author’s related works and the cited works should be more explicitly used and discussed in relation to each other.
However, Laura Maes' exposition ‘Oorwonde a tactile experience’, is a valid contribution to an emerging field of artistic practice and to the development of artistic research. It introduces several interesting threads and I am looking forward to learning more about the art works and the artistic and research methods behind these.