The following are proposals for as yet unrealised projects or
projects currently being undertaken.
Proposal for the Drawing Center, NY, to be realized in the surrounding area of Wooster Street
By Ursula Nistrup 2010
Following a meeting I had with Nina Katchadourian from the Drawing Center, I would like to propose the following project which, it is intended, should be realized with special consideration to the site and location of the of the Drawing Center. The project aims to extend and expand the discourse of accessibility, architecture, and public space in relation to drawing. Drawing is a central element in my practice and I believe it does and will continue to play a central role as a medium of contemporary art, architecture and music in the future. The project has been partly developed in collaboration with the musician and artist Mikkel Meyer.
From the location of the Drawing Center on both sides of Wooster Street, three, or possibly four, water towers could be seen when I looked for them during my last visit. My project proposes connecting with and creating access to these unique constructions; my intention is that the project should work by establishing the medium of drawing in a public space.
The project will take its starting point in the non-accessibility of the water towers as architectural appendices to the actual buildings. I would like to have the possibility of visiting them, to physically go and examine them up close and by doing so form an ‘audible vision’ (I like this phrase) of them. I am interested in how these are present constructions which are unique architectural elements in the city yet also inaccessible to the people living there. The water towers seem somewhat abandoned and I suspect are closed off to the public.
I would like to make a large A2 drawing relating to each visible tower, representing the way in which I imagine sound moves and travels within the towers. The drawings would be connected to an ongoing project I am currently working on, entitled ‘Never having seen’, excerpts from which can be seen on my website, www.nistrup.com. My discussion of this work with Nina Katchadourian contributed to the idea behind this proposal. I took particular notice when Nina mentioned ‘never being allowed access to a certain building’.
The production of one drawing for each visible water tower in the area is intended as a way of suggesting a relationship and connection between the street and the top of the buildings, the visual and the audible, the imaginary and the drawn. I would like to have the drawings printed and placed outside the buildings as regu
lar posters, either on boards surrounding the buildings or on the facades of the buildings themselves; in this way the idea of making these abstract connections public will become possible. During my visit I saw that a building was being torn down on the left-hand corner outside the gallery. It could be interesting to take advantage of the boards surrounding such buildings in the process of demolition by using them as the location for subtle drawings.
An important element will be to make a visual map that provides information about the project and guidance in the process of navigating it.
I hope the Drawing Center will assist me with this and possibly distribute it, perhaps as part of the information sheets the Center provides at their gallery.
I hope the Drawing Center will be interested in supporting my idea of these drawings being displayed outside, in the public space. An investigation into a broader understanding of how drawings are regarded and produced in a contemporary context could, to my mind, be an exciting addition to the Center’s activities.
After completing the drawings, I would like to make one sound recording from each tower, which would be replayed, possibly through headphones, alongside a display of the map in the gallery of the Drawing Center. These recordings would be made in collaboration with the artist Mikkel Meyer and form the content of a vinyl record for distribution. It would be interesting to make this record in collaboration with the Drawing Center’s other publication activities.
It would also be interesting to work with the idea of the audibly imaginary and to establish a kind of access to closed and inaccessible places...by directing the viewer’s attention to a translation between them which would be visible 24 hours a day.
Proposal for The Cartier Award 2009
For Those Who Usually See,
I propose to cover available surfaces, walls, furniture and space in the fair with acoustic materials (with as much as the budget allows). I envision setting the material from one area to another within the established floor plan as a hardly visible layout.
This project’s ambition is to perform through the temporary architectural design of the fair by stimulating the flow of visitors (those who usually see) apart from the usual chaotic atmosphere of an art fair. Close consultation with Brekke & Strand Akustikk (acoustic designers for the Oslo Opera) is important.
Proposal for Museo de Arte, Sacramento, Mexico
Dear Mr. Mario Garcia Torres
Thank you for your interest in my work and your invitation to make a proposal for your Museum. I regret the unfortunate delay in sending you this, and hope you will receive it
in good time.
The project I would like to propose is informed by the unique conditions you have created for the Museum as an abstract entity. It is inspired by ’The Idea of the North’ by the pianist and composer Glenn Gould. In this work he interviews several different representatives from various fields of study about the North. He then composes and conducts a piece as if it were a musical piece, but by using the spoken sentences from the interviews as representative of the various instruments in the composition.
My proposal would involve four people visiting the Museum in Sacramento, if such a location exists at present. If not, they will make the visit based on locational guidance from you and on their own individual research. The four invitations will be issued according to the interests of those invited.. One of them must have an interest in architecture, one in urban planning, one in story-telling and one in moving images/film. It is not a requirement that the invitees have either a formal education in these fields or work in them professionally; the only essential ability of these people is that they should be able to whistle.
At a stipulated place, agreed between myself and the members of the Museum’s board, the four guests will be invited to meet and whistle to and between one another as if exchanging points in a conversation or performing an ‘improvisational musical composition’. The whistling should be related to the experiences they have in encountering the Museum, including perhaps their feelings about the area in which it is situated, their journey to it, or other ways of envisioning it. No further requirements should be made of the performers.
This performative whistling will be the only evidence of this project. One recording of the encounter will be made and will be given to the Museum to be placed in its collection alongside this proposal.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With kind regards
Ursula Nistrup, 2010
A proposal for Borusan Holding, Istanbul, 2010.
By Ursula Nistrup in collaboration with Trami Nguyen.
Att: pek YEIUNSU
My experience of Istanbul during a period of 6 months has given me a limited, though somewhat nuanced, insight into how this city constantly changes and how things often remain hidden or difficult to access, especially from a visitor’s point of view.
Over the last year I have become increasingly interested in questioning ‘what makes a public situation’, ‘what makes bypassing individuals part of an audience’ and ‘what constitutes a composition’.
Perhaps a part of the answer to my questioning lies in the following answer provided by the Mexican artist Mario Garcia Torres (who I was fortunate to study with as a Master’s student at California Institute of the Arts). When he was once asked, ‘Where does performance start and end?’ his reply was, ‘It starts and ends wherever the knowledge of its existence starts and ends.’
As background for this proposal I would like to briefly outline a few projects I have recently undertaken. Since 2007 I have been interested in assembling unplanned recordings of individual musicians practicing on their instruments in closed rooms. I have made these recordings from corridor spaces just outside the rooms in which they were practicing. The recordings have taken place at different venues, one of which was the music conservatoire in Paris. I have been exploring the concept of the ‘unika’ within music: the non-composed overlaps and extensions of tunes that occur between musicians practicing while unaware of other musicians playing in the next room. These ‘unika’ experiences cannot be recreated and no written notes are taken to form the basis for future performances.
I have also made recordings of people, who, although they are sometimes invited, randomly whistle or hum while walking through buildings. I am interested in this unplanned activity of whistling while being involved in a different action. The whistling then becomes an unconscious secondary activity. Each building has been chosen according to its unique acoustic qualities. One example is a recording I made while visiting the The Stiftung Insel Hombroich in Germany. (Please see my portfolio and listen to the recording provided with this proposal.)
Another of my recordings was made in the Charamarende Castle outside Paris. I chose this castle due to its renaissance architectural style, in which each room is attached to the next in an en-suite manner, forming a maze-like circle within the building. Each room is constructed from, and covered with, different materials, which create a very special and constantly changing acoustic throughout the building. To achieve resonance within the building I asked a person to walk slowly through the rooms while whistling, as if simply enjoying the walk. This forms the recording that is also included with this proposal.
I hope that this summary of my ideas provides a useful introduction to my current practice and I would like to propose the following project for Borusan Holding:
My proposal involves working with members of the Borusan Chamber Orchestra, or with recordings made by them, at the Tekfur Saray, the largest extant fragment of a Byzantine imperial palace. This is one of the places I have been trying to find on my trips to Istanbul, but it still has not been possible for me to go. (This may be difficult to believe, but is nonetheless true; despite employing several days and many taxi drivers in the attempt to find this place, I had to abandon my search temporarily. The experience has led me to propose this unique location for the project.)
From my research into the Tekfur Saray, my understanding is that the place now consists of a bare wall, forming a kind of enclosed area containing walls with no roof. I would like to make a video and several sound recordings of the musicians from the Borusan Chamber
Orchestra practicing on their instruments there. The recordings will take place both inside and outside the walls. They will be connected in time, yet also disconnected due to the architecture.
I would like to undertake this project in collaboration with the Parisian composer and pianist, Trami Nguyen, and will focus on translating and developing the musical idea of counterpoints to involve architecture: just as musical counterpoints occur as melodies overlap and coincide, these relationships have their counterparts in architectural forms too, when, for example, walls, floors and spaces connect with, and diverge from, each other. It is these counterpoints, both musical and architectural, that the collaboration of artist and composer will examine.The project will consist of 3 parts.
1: In the first part, 3-4 musicians, although primarily a cellist and a percussionist, will be instructed to walk among the buildings and react to each other’s notes and tunes. When encountering the sounds produced by another musician, they improvise in response to them, and thus establish counterpoints between themselves and the person whose sounds they hear. I would like this performance to be announced only through e-mail and with no visible signs in the area, since part of the idea is to discover the place and the event in their own right. I envision that the musicians will discover and respond musically, both to the sounds produced by their fellow-musicians and to the architecture with which they are presented.
I would like each performance, lasting for 30 minutes, to take place at a given time each day, between 18-18.30 for instance, and for a pre-determined period of 7 days.
The musicians will be encouraged to begin playing and walking as and when they wish and to perform in the style of their own choosing, including the tune and tempo.
A video recording of these performances should be made to be shown within a gallery space with public access, like the Borusan Holdings building. This should occur in the period that the performances themselves take place and will thus introduce them to interested audiences who could then attend the next performance the following afternoon.
2: The second part of the project is a live sound performance, inspired by the architecture and based on the recordings of the performances and recordings from the location, which will make use of a specially designed software patch inspired by the architecture, The live performance and the use of digital technology is an area the composer Trami Nguyen has been focusing on in her practice; she is very interested in bringing her expertise in this area to the project.
3: The third part of the project will be to create an audible version of the performance that can be installed within a gallery space and which can recall the performance. This will be based on recordings made from speakers located within the architectural landscape, drawing attention to place as part of the architecture, walls, floors etc. In this way the intention is to recreate the direct relationship between the performance and the architecture on an analogue basis.
We will be using and working with several outputs (12-16) in order to create this version of the work. This will be a presentable work, capable of being adapted to various spaces and auditory conditions. It will have to be installed differently each time, to ensure the best possible conditions for the sounds, for the contact between the tunes and in order to emphasize the architecture.
I very much hope that Borusan Holdings will be interested in working with us on this project and we look forward to hearing from you.
With Best Regards
Ursula Nistrup (MFA)