The "ghost swimming pool" dream!

art installation called “Thirst” in the city of Dragør.

By Nota Tsekoura, on 20th Jun, 2013 13:49

“Thirst” | sound|art installation by Jacob Kirkegaard                          field recordings + installation

How many times does the image of an empty swimming pool in movies, photographs or just in front of you arouse weird feelings and hunts you? Do you ever wonder how it would feel to use this space differently? Would you call your friends, put some lights on and have a dinner or a party inside hiding from the world, feeling inside the earth and closer to the stars? Or would you grab a water hose and quickly connect it to the water supply to fill it up and dive in?

In both occasions, you might like the following one better. The Danish artist Jacob Kirkegaard, made the "ghost swimming pool" dream true with his sound|art installation called “Thirst” in the city of Dragør, Denmark.


© Jacob Kirkegaard

When first exposed to Jacob Kirkegaard's work, the following words from Rudhyar might spring to mind : “Sound is one of many types of substantial energy. It is a matter liberated as energy in its manifested aspect at any rate-very much as perfume or heat or magnetism are radiations or emanations from some substantial entity”[1]*; mainly because one of the unique aspects of Jacob's work is his ability to decode and transmit the hidden energy of each sound and tone the even less sensitive ears. His work makes you feel like you are expanding along with sound, participating in mysterious echoes as they appear in different layers of his sonic compositions.

The exceptional, rhetoric and yet poetic way that Jacob Kirkegaard works with sound together with a conceptual background that intensively supports his projects, makes us want to stop hearing and start listening!


© Jacob Kirkegaard

In his installation “Thirst”, Jacob Kirkegaard provokes feelings by working with concepts which link the internal and the external of our universal home, the earth, while he approaches different sensational canals using sound and optical medium to surround his audience as they are moving inside the empty pool.

Where there be light there should be sound; Speakers are placed between the lights in equal distances by the maximum pool's water level. Light and sound then have the same linear direction from side to side, mixing in the middle where the “dry swimmer” can listen the earth “expressing itself”.

The best way to connect the earth internal with the external might be through the natural formation of volcanoes. Jacob Kirkegaard travels to a region where there are 30 active volcanic systems and records the ending point of a route that starts from the depths of the earth. A point where water meets fire and creates an offspring of energy that is expressed in great force as it comes out to the natural light. We are referring to water geysers that occur by deeply circulating groundwater meeting with the cooling magma under the active earth. The artist here records two sound characters, one above and another below the earth surface, summing a total of 70 sounds: "You could walk down into the pool but at the same time move deep into the sound” as Jacob says; The “dry swimmer” can move within the earth and only when he reaches the bottom he gets in touch with the underground recorded sounds as they are played by a huge sub-woofer speaker at the end of the pool.


© Jacob Kirkegaard

Effectively the silent truth here arrives from a bodily experience of sound in a poetic moment of an exchange of inner realities between people and earth.

Walking into technical fog gives the impression of a steam bath, and it might bring you a little closer to Icelandic fairytales, volcanic vibrations, and … the experience of the ghost swimming pool dream!

[1] Dane Rudhyar text referrence, p.125, Hearing cultures:essays on sound, listening and modernity, edited by Veit Erlmann, Berg publications 

+ learn more about Jacob Kirkegaard