What do you want to find?
Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir
Tacet: Extrinsic (þögn: utanaðkomandi)
Performances only live in the now. The present moment cannot be repeated, should it be repeated it turns into another present moment, not at all related to the original one. In that same way performances inevitably turn into something else when they are performed again since the repetition is inherently different from the original. How similar the original and the repetition are, or how much one tries to relive that which was, is irrelevant; each repetition inescapably becomes a different experience. No matter how often one plays the same note one never creates the same tone. That is, no doubt, why we still listen to and watch the performances of age-old compositions—each performance is a new and unique experience. Music is intrinsically performative and thus a live music performance can be categorised as a visual art performance since both only live in the moments that they are being performed, as a singular experience that can neither be repeated nor relived.
Music consists of two equally important characteristics: sound and silence. Sound is characterised by its loudness, pitch, timbre and duration, but silence is only characterised by the time that goes by during existence. Silence cannot be heard in terms of harmony or pitch; it can only be sensed as time passing.
Viewers at a classical symphony concert hear sounds and see the performers who form the sounds, but only sense the silence because they see the performance of it through the performers. As viewers we pay the silent performers little or no attention, but in music silence is just as important as sound—if not more so.
In Hildur Elísa’s works the viewer is faced with materials, sound and silence, which the artist had no part in creating but become artistic elements non the less through the artist’s agency as a medium and it’s presentation within a space dedicated to visual arts. By performing silence within musical performers who perform both sounds and silence the artist tries to get the viewer to reflect on the importance of sound and silence in music, and their role as two integral sides of a whole which only exist in relation to each other.