Decaying Sound, Sounding Decay: Jacob Kirkegaard

Kyle Devine, Flash Art, February 23, 2021

“Listening In” is a column dedicated to sound, music, and listening practices in contemporary art and its spaces. This section focuses on how listening practices are being investigated and reconfigured by artists working across disciplines in the twenty-first century.


Kyle Devine: Can you describe the works that make up your “Testimonium” series, which is being shown at Fridman Gallery in New York from February 27 to March 27? I understand that these works take on three different forms and will fill the two floors of the gallery.


Jacob Kirkegaard: The “Testimonium” series explores waste in different formats. It is made up of three sound and visual works that I created from recordings and photos I made at one of the world’s largest landfills, the Dandora dumpsite in Nairobi, Kenya, and at very modern recycling and wastewater facilities in Denmark and Latvia.


Testimonium I is a sound and video installation that combines acoustics and images from the sites I visited, which will be shown on the main floor of the gallery. It was important here for me not to make any distinction between Africa and Europe, but to show that waste is global. Testimonium II will be played in a darkened listening room on a separate floor. It is an eight-channel sound piece, rich and detailed, which unfolds to create an immersive situation. It is an intimate portrait of waste from the inside. Testimonium III offers a large photograph from the Dandora dumpsite, where areas of the waste tend to burst into flames. It presents a visual account of what is creating the sounds heard in the other pieces.