A I O N

Sound & video installation. Duration 50 minutes. © 2006.

AION (Ancient Greek αιων = “infinity”, “eternity”, a time span beyond human understanding) is a portrait of four abandoned spaces inside the so-called “Zone of Exclusion” in Chernobyl, Ukraine; a dripping swimming pool, a ruined concert hall, a mould-infested gymnasium and an old village church.


The sound of each room was evoked by an elaborate method: Kirkegaard made a recording of 10 minutes and then played the recording back into the room, recording it again. This process was repeated up to ten times. As the layers got denser, each room slowly unfolded its own unique drone of various resonant frequencies.
Jacob Kirkegaard's method  is inspired by Alvin Lucier's work "I am sitting in a room" [1970], who recorded his voice in a space and repeatedly played this recording back into that same space. In Kirkegaard's work, however, no human voice is being projected into the rooms: during the recordings he left the four spaces, to wait for whatever might evolve from these seemingly silent spaces themselves.

For the visual representation of the four rooms, Kirkegaard explored a variety of similar techniques, working with layers, overexposure and video feedback, that can be understood as analogous to his acoustical method.







 

 








A I O N

AION (Ancient Greek αιων = “infinity”, “eternity”, a time span beyond human understanding) is a portrait of four abandoned spaces inside the so-called “Zone of Alienation” in Chernobyl, Ukraine; a dripping swimming pool, a ruined concert hall, a mould-infested gymnasium and an old village church. During the days and weeks following the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26th, 1986, the local population were evacuated by Soviet military, and they had to leave behind all their belongings. The former homes, meeting places and recreation centres were declared contaminated territory – in fact, they will remain uninhabitable for thousands of years.

Two decades after the disaster, Jacob Kirkegaard visited the exclusion area with his recording equipment. His approach was inspired by Alvin Lucier's work “I am sitting in a room” [1970]. While sitting in a room, Lucier recorded his own voice reciting a text which he then played back in the room. He repeated this process over and over again until the different layers of his voice began to merge into a constant drone. Kirkegaard didn’t record his own voice but the voice of the room itself. He put up a microphone and a speaker, started the recording and left. After ten minutes, he returned, stopped the recording and played it back into the same space. With each new layer, the subtle sounds of the room were enlarged and deepened until they finally turned into one humming sound with many overtones.

For the visual representation of the four rooms, Kirkegaard explored a variety of techniques, working with layers, overexposure and video feedback, that can be understood as analogous to his acoustical method.

Duration 50 min. Jacob Kirkegaard © 2006
All sound and video was recorded in the exclusion area around the former nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in October 2005.

Thanks to Sarah Kirkegaard, Stine Hebert, Ania Pilarska, Touch, Anthony Moore, Siegfried Zielinski, David Larcher, “Verein der Freunde der Kunsthochschule für Medien Koeln” and the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany.

AION is dedicated to Rimma Kiselitsa (in memoriam)