Carl Michael von Hausswolff
Since the end of the 70s, Hausswolf has worked as a conceptual visual artist working with performance art, light- and sound installations and photography and as a composer and musician using the tape recorder as his main instrument.
Hausswolff's visual works deals mainly with photography, video and combinations of audio/visual matterst. His "Red" series using red lights in various architectural misfittings has shown a rather critical side of his works. In Santa Fé (SITE Santa Fé biennial 1999) an abandoned cemetery was lit up in the nighttime by 20 000 watts (Red Night, 1999); in Liverpool (Liverpool biennial) the river Mersey was treated (Red Mersey, 2004) and in Chiangmai, Zagreb, Rijeka, Kaliningrad and Chicago abandoned houses around the cities was lighted up and photographed (Red Empty, 2003-2006). His most recent red works include Red Sea Saw for the Luxembourg Cultural Capital 2007 and Red Cochineal in Mexico showed at Museo de la Ciudad in Santiago de Queretaro 2007.
His interest in architecture and topography has also resulted in the films “Hashima, Japan 2002” and “Al Qasr, Bahriyah Oasis, Egypt, 2005” made in collaboration with film maker Thomas Nordanstad. A new film is planned for 2008 named "Electra, Texas 2008".
In 1997 he launched a series of works under the title "Operations of Spirit Communication". This work, inspired by Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) techniques, was combining and merging sound and vision using analogue and digital technologies such as oscilloscopes, radars and sonars. These ready-made machines were showing the possibilities of ghosts and other kinds of life forms living inside a certain space or inside the electricity grids. Such cities as Paris (Musee d'art de la Ville de Paris), Bangkok (National Gallery), Berlin (Bethanien), New York City Pierogi), Tokyo (ICC), Frankfurt am Main (Portikus) and Copenhagen (Charlottenborg) has been under this magnifying ghost glass. Recently the exhibition “The Complete Operations of Spirit Communication” was shown at OK Centrum in Linz, Austria.
His interest in audio and radio technology also came in light at the 49th Biennale di Venezia in 2001. In a collaborative work with Tommi Grönlund, Petteri Nisunen, Leif Elggren and Anders Tomrén he had constructed a radio receiver that could play all radio transmissions from the Venice area at the same time. The entire Nordic Pavilion was filled with this mix of sounds producing a beautiful and at the same time profound religious audio graphic environment. Other radio tech works include the usage of scanners and EVP frequencies.
Hausswolf has also created a series of social platforms, places where people can meet and consume. His “Thinner- and Low Frequency Bar” was used at the Momentum biennial in Moss, Norway, Prato, Italy and London and his “Glue- (Tobacco-) and High Frequency Lounge” was used in Geneva and in Prato. These works show Hausswolff’s critical view on the society’s hypocritical treatment of drugs and addiction. The audience could sniff the highly toxic substances thinner and contact glue while smoking cigarettes and getting penetrated by the either low or high sine wave tones.
In 1993 he and Leif Elggren developed the ever-lasting conceptual piece “The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland”. Here a new country was established in the world. Its territories was all border areas between every country, the No Man Land, mental territories such as the hypnagogue dream state and digital areas on the Internet. Paraphernalia such as a constitution including flags, coat of arms, and national hymn was produced and letters was sent to every government in the world asking for recognition. In 1995 an application for membership in the United Nations was sent in and in 2005 the New United Nations was proclaimed. Elgaland-Vargaland now has over 700 citizens and is frequently manifesting itself through the channels of conceptual art. Embassies has been established in Stockholm, Mexico City, Oujda, London, New York, San Francisco, Osaka, Barcelona, Helsinki and many other places. In 1995 the country annexed Schlaraffenland and t the 50th Biennale di Venezia in 2003 the state annexed Thomas More’s Utopia at the Utopia Station project. A new embassy was recently inaugurated at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin and at Gallery 400 in Chicago and, in conjunction with the 52nd biennale the Island of The Dead (Isola di San Michele) in Venice was annexed June 10, 2007 as well as the entire Lake Constance between Switzerland, Germany and Austria in 2008 organized by Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich.
Hausswolff is also a freelance curator at Färgfabriken Centre for Contemporary Art and Architecture in Stockholm. From 1999 until now he has curated retrospective exhibitions by the works of the EVP pioneer Friedrich Jürgenson, his long time colleague Leif Elggren, and Swedish electronic music pioneer Rune Lindblad. He also curated a special exhibition of works by his mentor Brion Gysin as well as works by Max Fredriksson, Henrik Rylander and Henrik Andersson. He has later “artistified” Jürgenson, as well as Swedish mail bomb inventor Martin Ekenberg and now plans to introduce other non-artists such as US astronaut James Irwin, a Swedish 1927 hero Olga Eriksson (introduced 2007) and the Norweigian spy Selmer Nilsen, in the field of contemporary art.
His audio compositions from 1979 to 1992, constructed almost exclusively from basic material taken from earlier audiovisual installations and performance works, consists essentially of complex macromal drones with a surface of aesthetic elegance and beauty. In later works, Hausswolff has retained the aesthetic elegance and the drone and added a purely isolationistic sonic condition to composing. Between 1996 and 2007 Hausswolff has boiled away even more ornamental meat from the bones: his works are pure, intuitive studies of electricity, frequency functions and tonal autism within the framework of a conceptual stringent cryption. Hausswolff's music has been performed throughout Europe and in North America and Asia in festivals such as Sonar, Electrograph, Cut&Splice and I.D.E.A.L. In these concerts a very physical, almost brutal, side of Hausswolff’s work has broken through. The audience very often fall into a form of trance, dosing away in their seats. Other times people from the events has thanks him “for the massage” or has expressed a “feeling that the flesh came off the bones” due to the vibrations of the low frequencies used. His audo works can be found released by labels such as Ash International, feld, Die Stadt, Firework Ed., Laton, SubRosa, Oral and RasterNoton.
In 2005 Hausswolff was invited by Italian theatre director and curator for the theatre part of the 51st Biennale di Venezia, Romeo Castellucci, to write, compose and perform a play for this festival. Co-working with script writer Marietta von Baumgraten he premiered Physical Interrogation Techniques the same year. This piece has since then been shown in Brussels, Tallinn and Bolzano.
IN 2003-06 he curated the sound art project “freq_out”, in Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Berlin and Chiangmai. This project includes the individual works from 12 sound artists shown in a collective way. The frequency range from 15 – 12 000 Hz was divided up into 12 sections and handed out to the artists. These exhibitions has showed a new way to deal and treat sound works as an exhibitional form, a form that mostly has been chaotic and non functional in many recent group shows. Artists included were Jacob Kirkegaard, J.G. Thirlwell, Jana Winderen, Finnbogi Petursson and Pomassl. Freq_out 6 will take place in Budapest, Hungary in February 2007.
In 2003 Hausswolff curated the 2nd International Biennial for Contemporary Art in Göteborg, Sweden. Here he mixed sound artists like Ryoji Ikeda, Else Marie Pade and John Duncan with dictator painters from Libya and Cambodia; contemporary artists like Phill Niblock, Simone Kaern-Aaberg and Surasi Kusolwong with ready-made artists like Friedrich Jürgenson and Martin Ekenberg; painters like Jan Håfström with painters like Kim Gordon and Russell Haswell. In 2008 he curated the opening show for the new art space Färgfabriken Norr in Östersund, Sweden where more then 80 artworks were shown including pieces by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Carsten Höller, Tobias Rehberger, Carsten Nicolai, Armin Linke, Manu Luksch and others.
In spring 2005 Hausswolff completed his Starhouse project for The Land Foundation, organised by Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Rirkrit Tiravanija in Chiangmai, Thailand.