Zijlijn / Linea Lateralis

KWP production


  • 03.06 > 13.06.2021
  • 26.04 > 02.05.2021
  • 25.01 > 14.02.2021
  • 07.01 > 12.01.2021

In our North Sea, under water, sight is limi­ted, often just a few meters. At most it is about 30 meters. Sound howe­ver tra­vels much much fur­ther under water. And for this rea­son it is cen­tral to a lot of the mari­ne life, for com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, navi­ga­ti­on, fora­ging and mating. A true sonic world, a lan­gu­a­ge that is mys­te­rious to us, and often beyond comprehension.

However, The North Sea is one of the busiest in the world, almost eve­ry inch of it knows some form of human occu­pa­ti­on. And the­re­fo­re the North Sea is also one of the loudest in the world, human sounds blan­ke­ting the who­le sea floor. Noise from the count­less ships, but also dril­ling, oil­rigs, the con­struc­ti­on of wind farms, fis­hing, and fish farms. At the moment researchers are trying to figu­re out what a nor­mal base­li­ne for back­ground noi­se could be, and how it might affect wild­li­fe. Some of the research is done with the aim of trying to regu­la­te, and sub­due, the human noi­se in our waters.

Zijlijn / Linea Lateralis is an artis­tic research into the rela­ti­ons­hip bet­ween the biopho­ny (sound made by mari­ne life), and the antro­pop­ho­ny (sound sprin­ging from human acti­vi­ty). Stijn first made under­wa­ter sound recor­dings along the coast of Belgium, from the Western Scheldt right up to Dunkirk. Then he tra­vel­led to Norway to make more recor­dings in the waters around Bergen, cap­tu­ring the sounds­ca­pe at both the sou­t­hern and nor­thern bor­ders of the North Sea. True to its name, Zijlijn brings the­se sounds into a late­ral struc­tu­re. 6 spea­kers on a line play a com­po­si­ti­on made with the recor­dings from the North Sea. The row of spea­kers con­front a line of sam­ple con­tai­ners: nine sam­ple tubes con­tai­ning sea­wa­ter from the main recor­ding loca­ti­ons. The instal­la­ti­on explo­res vari­a­ti­ons in both small and lar­ge move­ments in sound, giving the spec­ta­tor the choi­ce to come up clo­se or stay at a dis­tan­ce. The spec­ta­tor is basi­cally his or her own fader, expe­rien­cing the com­po­si­ti­on, and the balan­ce bet­ween biopho­ny and antro­pop­ho­ny, anew with eve­ry new lis­te­ning position.

The tit­le of the instal­la­ti­on, Zijlijn or Linea Lateralis, refers to the organ in cer­tain fish that detects pres­su­re vari­a­ti­ons in the water, and is con­nec­ted to their hea­ring. This linea late­ra­lis evol­ved from the same pro­to-organ that our own ears evol­ved from.

Commissioned by Concertgebouw Bruges

Conceived, cre­a­ted & com­po­sed by Stijn Demeulenaere

Production: Kunstenwerkplaats I Co-pro­duc­ti­on: Concertgebouw Brugge, iMAL — Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology I In col­la­bo­ra­ti­on: with STUK — House for Dance, Image and Sound, Lydgalleriet Bergen, ZSenne ArtLab I Supported by The Flemish Community & The Flemish Community Commission of the Brussels Capital Region I Recordings by Stijn Demeulenaere I Recording assis­tants: Anders Bibow Olsen, Kjetil Høidal, Ioana Mandrescu, Kevin Trappeniers & Julien Ortuno I Noise maps cour­te­sy of JOMOPANS I Video trai­ler by Daniel Demoustier 

With the help of Kevin Trappeniers, Ioana Mandrescu, Anders Bibow Olsen, Kjetil Høidal, Julien Ortuno, Jan Haelters, Popi Gkikopoulou, Wim Pauwels, Karlien Vanhoonacker, Lieve Demin, Charlotte De Somviele, Eva Welkenhuyzen, Jan De Moor, Jeroen Vanacker, Ana Ascencio, Gilles Helsen, Julie Lillien Porter, Nikki Sheth, Stéfan Piat, Leander Schönweger, Johan Vandermaelen, Jana Winderen, Philip Janssens, Daniel Demoustier, Marie du Chastel, Kristoff Demeulenaere, Luc Emiel Rooman, Rosa Auber-kraft, Lewi Moors, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Jan Seys, the Flanders Marine Institute, the Sea Mammal Research Unit of the Scottish Ocean Institute, Niels Kinneging, JOMOPANS, Ohme, the Notam Spatial Audio Salon, and the crews at Kunstenwerk­plaats VZW, Concertgebouw Brugge, iMAL, STUK, Lydgalleriet Bergen and ZSenne ArtLab. My sin­ce­re gra­ti­tu­de to all of you.