Posted by: bluesyemre | November 23, 2020

Swiss sound artist #Zimoun harnesses the power of quick, chaotic movements in his large-scale installations and #KineticSculptures

Zimoun is best known for his installative, generally site-specific, immersive works. He employs kinetic principles of rotation and oscillation to put things into motion and thus produce sounds. For this he principally uses simple materials from everyday life and industrial usage, such as cardboard, DC motors, cables, welding wire, wooden spars or ventilators. For his works Zimoun develops small apparatuses which, despite their fundamental simplicity, generate a tonal and visual complexity once activated – particularly when a large number of such mechanical contraptions, generally hundreds of them, are united and orchestrated in installations and sculptures. One example of this is the work 255 prepared ac-motors, 325 kg roof laths, 1.8 km rope (2015): 250 roof spars hanging from fine cords fall, at timed intervals, the approximately 20 centimetres to the ground, repeatedly. Thanks to the wood’s elasticity, the spars bounce like rubber balls on the hard concrete floor and produce an audible, multiple echo. Zimoun creates a three-dimensional sonic space the visitor can actively explore.

Zimoun’s works continually embrace oppositional positions, such as the principles of order and chaos. Works may be arranged in a geometrical pattern or ordered and installed according to a system, yet they behave chaotically and act – within a carefully prepared framework of possibilities – in an uncontrolled manner as soon as they are mechanically activated. As if in a clinical study, the pattern and the systematic approach enable an overview, so that the chaos generated by the mechanical process can be better analysed. Mass and individuality also belong among these oppositional positions. The artist often employs a large number of identical elements, but each element develops its own individuality and unique nature through the dynamic interplay of mechanism, rotation and material. The mechanical elements, prepared by hand in the studio, which have a consistently reduced, minimalistic form, function and aesthetic, possess only apparent precision, because the manual production creates divergence from the ideal treatment of the material, allowing imprecisions that emphasise the emerging individual behaviour of the materials, enable it or indeed provoke it.

When naming his works Zimoun consistently follows the principle of listing the materials used one after another. With this he brings materials to the fore; in addition, the titles signal the ‘prepared’ mechanism, indicating the connection to intentionally tonally manipulated musical instruments.

His works are often defined using the term of sound architectures, based on the principles of Minimal Music, to which he brings a visual aspect while insisting on a simple, reduced design without embellishment or additional colour.

Although Zimoun conceives of his installations as compositions in a musical sense, he does not actively intervene in the development of their sound. He does not direct the mechanical systems implemented either in an analogue manner or digitally, via a microcontroller or a computer, instead merely activating them by turning on or off their electricity supply. He sees the moment of activation and the dynamic of the materials themselves as a sculptural and performative approach and names the principle behind these works ‘primitive complexity’.

In addition to his installative compositions, Zimoun also develops purely acoustic works. Although the two genres – visual, un-controlled, accidental compositions and musical compositions for sound recording and performance that are laboriously constructed in the studio – may seem quite different at first, both emerge from the artist’s interest in creating spaces and acoustic states which are composed of microscopically small sounds and noises.

Zimoun’s recordings are often, like the performative concert arrangements, conceived of for multi-channel sound systems. Through the implementation of multiple loudspeakers, listeners are placed within a three-dimensional sonic architecture which cannot be discovered visually, but only acoustically. Zimoun also works on recordings with other artists from music and the visual arts. Many of these recordings have been released by the Leerraum label, which he founded in 2003 together with graphic designer Marc Beekhuis and which is also available to other artists with reductive concepts.

https://www.zimoun.net/


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