Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
19 August–18 September 2020
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
0.004 Hz examines an event that originates from a dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, which for several months in 2018, almost imperceptibly affected everyday life in an area of Europe comprising 25 nations. Due to the complex and unresolved political relations in which Kosovo and Serbia (and the Serbian minority in Kosovo) were – and continue to be – embroiled, there was a deficit of electrical power in the region from January to March 2018. This caused the mean electrical frequency in the entire Continental European Power System (from Istanbul to Santiago de Compostela, from Rome to Copenhagen) to decrease from 50 to 49.996 Hz. For the many electric clocks that keep time according to the frequency of the power grid, instead of quartz crystal, the 0.004 Hz drop resulted in a cumulative delay of 6 minutes over the 2-month period.
The interesting thing is – almost nobody noticed.
This project embraces the event as an opportunity to encounter and contemplate the temporal gap – the cranny, loss of time– or delay that disrupted the (measured) flow of time itself. The result is something that Sambolec calls an ecstatic interval: an interval that amplifies fuzzy and unstable relations between the understanding, measurement, representation and experience of temporality. It is a gap that also illuminates the invisible, involuntary and unexpected ‘shadow connectivity’ that the continent-wide electrical power grid enables between distant people, places, cultures, political spheres and everyday life.
How does the shared grid connect political institutions in the Balkans to the kitchens and bedrooms of Denmark?
How does this affect and inform the contemporary human condition and relations between experience, factuality, distance and visibility?
How does it (trans)form the notion of territoriality, autonomy and statehood?
And, what are the potential relations between this event and the poetic, philosophical and artistic articulations of the evasive, ephemeral and imperceptible?
The installation consists of a sound, a graph of the Continental European Power System mean electrical frequency deviations from January to March 2018, and a newspaper-style publication. Sound is at two frequencies – 50 Hz and 49.996 Hz – amplified by subwoofers and transducers attached to Tupana drum membrane. This drum is a version of traditional Turkish Davul and is still widely played in the region. In Serbian it is called Tapan and Tupana in Albanian. The publication collects mostly found fragments that are indicative of the potential in, and are essential or tangential to, the ecstatic interval. Official announcements, news reports and interpretations of the frequency deviation described above are juxtaposed with articulations of the ecstatic interval across literature, art, theory, philosophy and science. These include fragments by Karen Barad, Gertrude Stein, Marshall McLuhan, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Brian Massumi, Adriana Cavarero, Marcel Duchamp, Mladen Dolar and Simone de Beauvoir, among others.
Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec (SI/NL) is artist and researcher with a particular focus in sound, new media, real-time interaction, and questions of contemporary mediation in relation to the sense of (bodily) presence. His recent work consists of spatial and sound installations, events and interventions, where (un)mediated sonic events act as central element that affectively evokes human bodily presence, while signaling its physical absence. Addressing the visitors through sound, tactility, kinetic movement and vibration, such experiential artistic works ultimately intend to question in what way human bodily presence can be felt and sensed beyond the directness of visuality and vicinity, and further, what kind of new poetics these re-articulations can form.
His works have been presented internationally at various museums, galleries, project spaces and contemporary art biennales and festivals.
He earned his PhD in Artistic Research from Faculty of Fine Art at University in Bergen, Norway, where he was the recipient of Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship (2013 – 2016). He is currently the recipient of Mondriaan Fund Stipendium for Established Artists, The Netherlands (2018 – 2022). In 2017 he took part in Research Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. In 2010 his work was awarded at Ars Electronica Festival in Linz – Austria.
In 2018 he became a member of artistic committee of puntWG Project Space in Amsterdam and a member of artistic committee of DNK – Amsterdam, a series of experimental contemporary music and sound art concerts, events, lectures and exhibitions.
Author: Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
Software design frequency deviation graph: Jurij Rejec
Publication graphic design: Luka Umek with Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
Editing: Janine Armin
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2020
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana and the Mondriaan Fund, The Netherlands
Thanks to: ELES d.o.o., Kleitia Zeqo, Tomaž Grom