Listening to the Heart: Jacob Kirkegaard by Julie Martin

Julie Martin, Bomb Magazine, March 5, 2021

Jacob Kirkegaard is both a visual artist and a composer who works with recordings of sounds that we rarely hear in our daily lives, taken from spaces loaded with meaning and tied to the conversations about our world today. His recorded sonic environments range between subterranean geyser vibrations, empty rooms in Chernobyl, melting ice in Greenland, endless border walls, vast piles of garbage, and organs in the human body. He presents these sounds in a variety of ways: as pure musical compositions, which he performs or crafts into multi-speaker immersive sound environments, or sound and visual installations incorporating video footage and photographs from his recording sites. The work reminds me of a phrase from the Roman playwright Terence: “nothing human is alien to me.” Nothing the human ear can hear is alien to Kirkegaard, and through his recordings he confronts and captures the sounds that echo through the universe, and by making them audible renders them less forbidding.


—Julie Martin