Acoustic listening devices developed for the Dutch army as part of air defense systems research between WWI and WWII.
The idea behind Adrian Göllner’s new ceramic works came from a theory from archeoacoustics on how sounds from previous eras could be captured in their pottery. The hypothesis was that the clay absorbed the sounds from its surroundings. As the artist describes: “This end of archeoacoustics is thought to be highly speculative and has been disproven, but the idea of clay acting as a viable recording surface has stayed with me for many years and has now resulted in a new series.” In this series, sounds are etched into the surface of the ceramics. With titles such as Vase with Sound of Man Coughing and Vase with Sound of Water Pouring, the works become—in the mind of the viewer—a space where the idea of the sound becomes transposed onto a physical object.
Many of Göllner’s previous works have involved the recordings of sound. His series Norwegian Wood Drawings (2012) focuses on the grooves etched in old records. By transposing these etchings onto a paper surface, and away from the record player, the artist gives the recorded songs a physical form.
Moving from paper to ceramics has involved some new techniques. To create his current series, Göllner has been working with the accomplished ceramicist Carolynne Pynn-Trudeau. As the artist describes the process, “While the leather-hard vases slowly turned on the potters wheel, the sound of live performances were scratched into the surface of the vase shapes by way of a megaphone and stylus apparatus (a process similar to Edison’s first sound-recording mechanism).” A black slip coating had been applied to the surface to excentuate the scratching while also recalling the look of ancient Greek vases. Then the final step in the process is to have the vases fired and finished.
Göllner’s ceramic works will be exhibited with his Norwegian Wood Drawings at Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Ottawa from April 3rd to May 11th. His Norwegian Wood Drawings will also be featured in Art & Science Journal Issue 2, out this May.
Love this. We talked about something similar in one of our podcasts.