Norway, Music, 2020


Photo: Jasper Kettner

Stavanger-born vocalist Stine Janvin is active in experimental music, sound, and audiovisual performance, with a special interest in the ambiguous and unrecognisable qualities of the voice. Through a diverse range of projects and collaborations such as the live radio play In Labour , the performative Installation The Subjective Frequency Transducer, releases under alter ego ST/NE, and field explorations as one half of field recording adaptations duo Native Instrument, she explores and challenges the physical features of the voice, the acoustics of her external/internal surroundings, and traditions of electronic, pop, club, and folk musics.

Janvin’s 2018 album, Fake Synthetic Music , released on interdisciplinary label PAN, brought the artist international critical acclaim for her singular examination of how the voice can be disconnected from its natural, human connotations. The record is but one of many iterations that test the resonant possibilities of spaces, from theatres to clubs to galleries, through a driving vocal imitation of melodic synth sequences.

SOLD (a dog and pony show) is Janvin’s latest work. It premiered in March 2020 after a two-week creation period that saw her work with 12 volunteer dancers, from children to retirees. Personal branding has become a norm, especially for artists, who are expected to maintain a strong online persona. But what does this digital image actually reveal about an artist or their art? Is the number of followers or likes really a meaningful status symbol? How much would you bend your principles or creative output for more digital attention? Navigating this intense commercialization of identity, Janvin’s voice soars over choreographed group movement and glittering pop lighting in a search for one’s true self among the social media noise.

With the arrival of lockdowns in late March, SOLD has been adapted into digital versions that attempt to translate a “live” feeling of performance (and the togetherness that comes with it) to the screen format. As the pandemic continued, amplifying isolation, uncertainty, hardship, and violence, Janvin, like so many of us, felt how strongly we need human contact and compassion. As she arrives in Berlin for her residency, she is inspired to revisit her earlier work, Fake Synthetic Music , with a shift in focus from the synthetic/natural divide to engaging with the social setting of music venues. Modulated by current (and future) hygiene regulations, the work will play with ways that we can spend time, listen, and dance together offline.

Janvin has collaborated with artists such as Holly Herndon, Catherine Lamb, and Adam Linder, and has toured extensively throughout Europe including performances at INA-GRM, Paris; The Long Now, Berlin; Elevate, Graz; CTM Festival, Berlin; Issue Project Room, NYC; Unsound Festival, Krakow; Terraforma, Milan; and many more.

Text: Taïca Replansky


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