Ewa Jacobsson: ETT TOMT RUM AV INGENTING (An empty room of nothing)


Harpefoss Poesifestival 2016

Opening Friday 16th September

Jacobsson started the work in April with travelling to Harpefoss, gathering audio material from nature and human activity there, like the sound of snow, drops from within the waterfall, dynamite, construction machinery, the atmosphere at the local store and conversations. This sound material she brought to the studio. In “ETT TOMT RUM AV INGENTING” (An empty room of nothing) Jacobsson (among many other things) places a speaker inside a rusty tin, lined on the outside with marbled marzipan, laid on a roll of bubble wrap. The “high-tech” processed material from the speaker is colored by the “worthless” tin and marzipan with connotonations to a homely sphere. Man is complex, Jacobsson says, and all parts should come forth, and we have to open our senses and ears to them. Practicing your attention creates reverberation for reality, a response, which requires an equivalent, responsability, and enable you to take charge. “What are you and what do you use your attention and your words for?” the artist asks.

Ewa Jacobsson is a visual artist and composer. She collects sound and objects, and uses materials like e.g. marzipan, oil, steel, wire plus photography and drawing in artistic processes with found objects. She is also a composer, singer and music technologist. Her works includes site-specific installations with graphics, sound, the processing of places, pure sound works, physical sounding objects and live performances.

Advanced techniques and materials combined with low technology, domestic materials and “worthless” objects are reflecting her interest in transportation of significance and meaning both existential and political. In her use of different media, whether visual, tactile or auditory materials, the works are ignoring the usual hierarchies in our lives and ways of thinking.


ABOUT the working process. A statement.

In relation to the festival’s theme “attention”, Jacobsson tries to enable us to perceive what one usually does not see or hear, but rather forget. The art is personal and also political. Your inner space of attention creates the outer space, enabling the opportunity to be aware of the time, the social and political space with which we co-exist. The title of the work refers to how art “is” nothing, the artist can do something totally meaningless, thus all the while deeply serious. The room “is” nothing, but the context is creating a new experience that allows you to hear and see more clearly, making you able to describe something you previously would not have noticed. This is connected to the festival theme of “attention”.

The work is site-specific and consists of recording, vocals and visual objects with audio source. It is both a musical work and an installation addressing different “rooms” of our cognitive mechanisms with both text and speech, sound, music and sensual objects. In the installation and the performance the audience experiences her singing voice from unprocessed to processed, it goes along with the sound of birdsong and the sound of a construction machine against stone. The sounds have the same structure, making the opportunity to ask the questions, what are you really listening to, or what kind of language it might be.

This year’s edition of Harpefoss poetry festival wanted through talks, lectures, readings, art and concerts to give participants and spectators the opportunity to examine questions concerning the concept of attention. HPF is a Nordic multi-artistic poetry festival held every two years lasting two days. This year’s program was put together by a curator group consisting of Kristin Berget, Eivind Hofstad Evjemo, Anna Kleiva and Maja Ratkje. The installation stood during the festival.



Ewa Jacobsson in conversation with festival curator Maja S. K. Ratkje about her commissioned work to HPF16

Jacobssons website