By Heart at VBKÖ

In December 2019 Konstmusiksystrar presented an installation at VBKÖ - Vereinigung Bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs (Austrian Association of Women Artists) in Vienna. VBKÖ’s theme of the year was “Resonating Heartbeats” where the organisation aimed to highlight collaboration and togetherness in the feminist movement. Konstmusiksystrar´sproject “By Heart” gathered the voices and stories of female, trans and non-binary identifying artists based in Europe through recorded interviews.

The project was presented as a sound installation by Marta Forsberg, Anna Jakobsson and Rosanna Gunnarsson.

The interviews conducted by Marta Forsberg and Anna Jakobsson started in Stockholm and continued in Copenhagen, Berlin and ended in Vienna. On the way they met and interviewed composers and sound artists who were invited to talk about other composers and artists - both historical and active - that had inspired them, affected their work and/or influenced them as artists.

The motivation to document these stories and creative processes was to present an alternative or companion canon to the dominant canon of ‘The Male Genius’ that dictates much of music history. The project explored new ways of conveying these stories from a collective, generative and collaborative perspective, in order to represent a counterforce to the strongly individualistic core that has characterised contemporary music for centuries.

The exhibition space was created based on feminist principles of inclusion and generosity; a room that listens and shares. The visitors were invited to listen to fragments of the various interviews through speakers which were placed in apples made of fabric. The sound was kept at a low volume which encouraged the visitors to hold the apples close to their ears. This brought an intimacy to the space and encouraged visitors to explore the stories and interviews in a more considered and sensitive way.

Participating composers:

Antonia Bartlett Mclntosh, Josefin Jalhed, Kajsa Antonsson, Agnes Kofoed Christianson, Lo Ersare, Maya Shenfeld, Stellan Veloce, Zoe Efstathiou, Ragnhild May, Maj Kjærsig

Members involved: