Vinyl Terror & Horror

Vinyl Terror & Horror, Off Track (detail), 2016–17, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Berlin-based Danish duo Vinyl Terror & HorrorGreta Christensen and Camilla Sørensen—are currently participating in the exhibition “Anger,” along with artists Martin Erik Andersen and René Schmidt, at the Horsens Kunstmuseum in Horsens, Denmark. For their installation Off Track, 2016–17, they present an untidy array of sounds and objects, which they discuss here. The show is on view through May 28, 2017.

OUR APPROACH synchronizes well with the theme of this exhibition. We often work with ideas of destruction, violence, fear, and anger, which are usually expressed in a materially dark and humorous way. We began working with sculpture and then we both started wanting to play and make music. Using sound is a way of producing a metaspace that responds to a more emotional center of the brain. A part of our practice is playing live concerts. Whereas the installations are more composed, when we perform, there’s just stacks of modified or broken vinyl, various record players, and us.

For this show, Camilla cut up various LPs of violin recordings and worked with violinist George Kentros, who transcribed it into notes and played the resultant piece. That has been made into a vinyl record, for which Greta shot out the center hole with a .308 caliber gun from a distance of 150 feet. She took shooting lessons for a year to perfect this task. Other elements of the installation include two speakers crashing into each other on a fifteen-foot semicircular track, and a robotic broom hammering the underside of a turntable mounted near the ceiling, making the needle skip on a record. Another turntable revolves by itself, playing a stationary record damaged by gunshot holes. A twenty-eight-second video loop shows Hetna Regitze Bruun singing opera while being repeatedly shoved in the back, in time with a revolving record.

Our installations appear to be on the edge of collapse—the objects have changed from having high fidelity to almost breaking down. We also built a speaker that seems to fall apart and then reassemble itself, and record players that are cut in half but still function. It’s rare that we use speakers that don’t have something that’s been changed on them. Every speaker has its own sound related to what it is doing. For instance, a speaker mounted in the ceiling plays the sound of water dripping, as a motor slowly lowers the unit down toward the floor. Another speaker moves underneath the floor playing the sound of footsteps. Often the speakers represent the presence of a body or specific activity. Isolated from the installation, these individual sculptures make little sense, but within the show they all play their role in a composed narrative where bits of horror movie sound sequences, opera, German Schlager, and Swedish folk music contrast with their slapstick construction and stripped-down aesthetic.

There are lots of references to horror movies in our works, but the sounds from them—creaking doors, footsteps, raindrops—are often combined with samples from records, which might be visibly playing. We never reference a specific movie but want to just give a feeling of a story being told. And this is why we try to use as little as possible to illustrate the sound so that you are transported somewhere else in your imagination. The sounds build up expectations of what’s going to happen, increasing a sense of tension as if your worst nightmare could be around the corner.