Aerial Aria in the aviary

Janek Schaefer
Piece commissioned for The Engine Room

“Aerial Aria in the aviary” is an FM transmitter installation using my collection of vintage and retro radios playing a 4 channel composition, exhibited in a room that resembles a kind of walkthrough bird house at the zoo.

Given the musical heritage of Morley College, I wanted to explore a music related theme, and was intrigued to discover an opera called The Perfect Fool, written by Gustav Holst while he was head of the music course in 1923. This was a rather tongue in cheek opera that was never performed. It examined the cultural divide between high and low culture, and was often a parody, sampling Wagner, Verdi, and Debussy. I did some vocal resampling from that opera, along with a flock of other famous operatic warblers. I helped them all to sing tiny phrases higher and faster, which in turn crafted a complex sonic aviary full of Aria Birds. Underscoring the new songs with many layers of subtle nature recordings, I have composed an eternal dawn chorus.

Artist Statement

Janek Schaefer

Janek Schaefer studied Architecture at the Royal College of Art where he worked with Brian Eno and Artangel, creating “Recorded Delivery” in 1995, and discovered how important sound is in perceiving space, and place. His foundsound concerts and installations explore the spatial, social and emotional qualities that sound can communicate, through the twisting of old and new technology. The context of each idea is central to its development and resolution, often exploring themes of appropriation, accident, & alteration.

Janek has exhibited, lectured, and performed widely, in every country in Europe [Sonar, Tate Modern, Pompidou, ICA, Strasbourg Museum of Modern Art], Japan, USA, Canada, [XI, Walker Art Center, Mutek, Princeton], and Australia [Sydney Opera House]. He has released 30 albums with labels around the world, and in 2008 he won the British Composer of the Year Award in Sonic Art, and a Paul Hamlyn Award. The Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool exhibited a Retrospective of his career to date in 2009. He is represented by the Agency gallery, London, and is a Visiting Professor at Oxford Brookes Sonic Art Research Unit. He lives and works in Walton-on-Thames, UK.

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