My work explores a fascination with the outside – what lies beyond standard perception, cognition and experience. This fascination has led me to create work with transmission, audible and inaudible frequencies, electromagnetism and tactile vibration. What intrigues me about working with these mediums is the ability to add and subtract layers of perception to an observer’s experience of his or her surroundings. The temporary structures that I create through these investigations hope to inspire infinite interpretations for the objects and spaces that make up the world around us, by reconstructing them into new vibrating forms. A prominent feature of this work is the exploration of infrasound and electromagnetic radiation through material processes that sonify inaudible events. These muted sounds and tactile vibrations implicitly suggest a primal association, mingling with the deep droning noises of modernization and labor, the spectral resonant shimmer of the past, present and future.
Kristen Roos (b.1975) is a Vancouver based artist whose practice includes site-specific installations, sound design for dance, and performance. Some of the spaces and events he’s created work for include – RadioRevolten 2016 (Halle), ISEA 2015, Radius (Chicago), Studio Loos (the Hague), velak (Vienna) interpenetration (Graz), noise=noise (UK) VIVO Media Arts & Vancouver New Music Festival (Vancouver), Surrey Art Gallery (Surrey, BC), Nuit Blanche & NAISA (Toronto), Skol & Articule (Montreal), Sound Symposium & Eastern Edge Gallery (Newfoundland), La Chambre Blanche & Le Lieu (Quebec City), Destroy Vancouver & Quiet City & Big Joy (Vancouver).
Kristen holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MFA from the University of Victoria, which focused on a series of site-specific micro radio broadcasts (published in Islands of Resistance). He has received funding for numerous projects through the Canada Council for the Arts, a Mayors Arts Award for a live work artist residency with the City of Vancouver in 2010, and a People’s choice award for his Ghost Station installation at Nuit Blanche Toronto in 2007. He has designed and composed sound for several choreographers including Company 605 and Justine Chambers. His writing on sound and radio art appears in the Radius GRIDS booklet published by Half Letter Press (Chicago 2015), the Errant Bodies publication Radio Territories (Berlin, 2007) and the New Star Books publication Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada (Vancouver, 2010).
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He is currently developing work that examines the silent electromagnetic transmissions that are ubiquitous today (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cell phone tower emissions). He receives these inaudible frequencies with devices that recognize them not as information (conversations, emails, streaming), but as something similar to the unwanted sounds that were heard in early radio reception (static, whistles). In receiving and translating these frequencies into audible sounds, Roos dissects the wireless devices that embody our lives, exposing the relationships between people and the objects. The interior layers are peeled back to reveal years of consumption of past technology, such as radios and telegraphs, still digesting in the guts of wireless routers and mobile phones. Roos creates work that unearths these transient vibrations from the gut of wireless transmission; embodied in a network of vibrating inscriptions and Morse-like rhythms.
Education & Teaching Philosophy
Kristen’s work in education involves classes in sound and media arts. These courses all involve elements of media archaeology – with examples from his collection of portable record players, vintage computers, cameras, reel to reel tape recorders – and teach the history of the mediums and techniques used, and how they are situated within this history.
An important part of his process is to take into account the historical significance of the mediums he works in. This is especially evident when working in sound and media arts based practices that have a very short history, which includes rapid changes in media and technology. This includes an awareness of the place his students inhabit in terms of geography and culture, and encourages alternative conversations to colonial modernism. His work as an artist and educator examines these perspectives in terms of a settler-indigenous history in Canada. With this approach to art making and education, He hopes to inspire creativity, and challenge accepted ways of seeing and thinking about the world. Giving students the support and encouragement to make intuitive decisions that place their identities and concerns in the immediate, while linking them to the past, and connecting them to the future.
Kristen’s current research includes areas of media archaeology, and examinations of obsolete technology. This research looks at early versions of image capturing devices, focusing on image digitizers made for household computers in the 1980’s and 1990’s called ComputerEyes and MacVision. The images created by these early digitizers are reminiscent of the earliest surviving photograph, and have a similarity to this hazy, high contrast Heliograph. They also require the subject to be very still, as each digital image takes several seconds to capture. This too is reminiscent of early photographs and Daguerreotypes; in which the subject had to stay completely still do to the long exposure time. In researching this largely forgotten history, Roos is asking questions about early digital techniques of capturing and printing images. Do these techniques fit into the history of photography or the history of scanning and capturing/digitization? This research unearths devices that have no digital record, and yet have aided the progress and current ubiquity of digitization devices, asking questions about advancements in technology and what obsolescence leaves behind.
Acoustic, phenomenological responses to architecture
Canada Council for the Arts Research funding
Vibratory caterpillar communication
Canada Council for the Arts Research funding