Jonas Howden Sjøvaag

What kind of music arises in the meeting between three artistic identities?

University of Agder, Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Popular Music

My exposition titled "be like water" is a required read / listen before my digital presentation at the ARF 2024. I want to present the current status of my work through a musical performance, because I want the artistic practice to take the lead in this. In my project I find it helpful to follow the logic of Peter Tornquist, in which musical (or artistic) questions will have musical (or artistic) answers.

This is also the reason for the summarized look and feel of this exposition.

The exposition is necessary to familiarize with, because it presents background, timeline and other elements important to the research I'm doing.


In summary, it consists of:

- a short sound clip to give you an idea of my musical background and starting point for the research
- a sketch for the contextualization of my project
- a sketch outlining reflections and stuff that came up
- references relevant to the artistic result in this presentation
- a timeline presenting a summary of the progression from start till now
- challenges and considerations
- example of how the artistic research leads to new discoveries outside of the planned scope


Link to exposition: Be Like Water by Jonas Howden Sjøvaag (

Background summary:

My musical work has been clearly threefold over the past years. The various roles have existed in parallel and stand in mutual relation to each other and have already produced results in the form of recorded and released albums, concerts with ensembles and other artistic production with different expressions and working methods.


They have mostly existed on their own, separate from each other, and thus: I am curious about what kind of musical result will come from a long-term process towards uniting these three parts. These are:


  1. improvisational jazz percussion
  2. singer/songwriter
  3. electroacoustics and music technology


Currently my work is aimed at breaking these identities down in an effort to pinpoint what is most fundamental to each one. I will then combine these elements with each other to see what can come from:

  1. the friction between them both in a soloistic approach, and also in collaboration with other musicians, and
  2. how the instruments and / or artistic outcome in the various parts can be transformed or changed when an element from one identity is applied to the instrument in another.


An approach like this where I seek to break down and rebuild, requires a rather theoretical framework that underlies my efforts of explaining what the different components within the research are, and how they are related. It also requires strict delimitation, an effort in which the same theoretical framework will be helpful.

Jonas Howden Sjøvaag: I hold a masters degree in improvisational music from the Academy of Music, in Oslo, finished in 2008. Since then I have been a professional musician in several ensembles, most notably Eple Trio, apart from many projects initiated by myself, either as a solo artist or as a performer with others. My discography counts 20+ releases. 


I have my own record label (Shipwreckords), do recording, mix and mastering in my studio in Oslo (Færder Audio), have been a graphic designer and visual artist for years, with well over 100 album covers made so far ( I own and operate Weblance AS, an IT firm working towards the music and culture industry.

I have also been working as a Research Catalogue-consultant for UiB, NMH, UiA, Fontys  and others for many years, where my main occupation has been teacing students and faculty staff, leading seminars, workshops and individual classes, and creating exposition designs and -frameworks for research fellows, faculty staff and universities.



Artistic Research Spring Forum 2024

2nd presentation

Note: Headphones or proper monitoring is necessary for this presentation

My presentation at ARF 2024 will consist of a few minutes of introduction, followed by approximately 25 minutes of playing, ending with 30 minutes of dialogue. The music is the current state of my research, and the musical answer to a musical question.


The exposition provided is necessary to read and listen to before taking part in the presentation, because it provides a sketch-like overview of how artistic research ties in with my artistic practice after 1,5 years. I hope the exposition and performance will work together to present my research in a meaningful way.


To avoid unforeseen technical challenges, the performance has been pre-recorded.


Artistic Research Spring Forum 2023

1st presentation

My presentation will focus on how I have been thinking of this up until now, including examples of the framework, the presentation of it, and examples of both the musical elements, alone, in combinations, and as a preliminary result. It will also show how I currently intend to bridge the research and the artistic result in a way that I hope is beneficial to me, the audience, the material and the artistic result.