*1990 Wrexham, North Wales
Aled Smith is a composer and sound artist whose recent work comprises a language of materiality that strives for absolute, infinitely complex sound. Embodied as physical constructions involving raw, repurposed materials and analogue approaches to amplification and electronics, his works bridge and distort visual, physical, spatial and sonic perspectives through decontextualisation and disintegration. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, UK, earning an MMus and PhD in composition (2012–18).
“What Matters” was the question andtatement of 2022 presentation of works by the JUNGE AKADEMIE, the interdisciplinary and international artist-in-residence programme of the Akademie der Künste. In an exhibition and a multifaceted programme including screenings, concerts and readings, 29 fellows from all of the Akademie’s art sections presented sound and video installations, photographs, sculptures, paintings and performances they developed during their studio residencies in the Hansaviertel in Berlin and at Villa Serpentara in Olevano, Italy.
“What Matters” is not to be understood as the title of a thematic exhibition but rather indicates the diversity of questions, perspectives and realities that are interlaced in an artist residency, while emphasising their urgency. The exhibition focused on the artists’ individual approaches that encompass a broad spectrum of themes: from questions about the transformation of societies and their expression in relation to the urban space and landscape, to interrelations between the individual and social systems such as state, religion and the economy, to reflections on body images and conceptions of history, personal archives and the intertwining of nature, technology and culture.
What matters is artistic testimony, poetic resistance and the imagining of sustainable futures in the face of global tipping points – whether climatic or political in nature. Two years into the pandemic and the associated restrictions, “What Matters” was the most comprehensive presentation of works to date by the JUNGE AKADEMIE.
To quote one of the fellows: “What matters? Make them see…”
return to ground
Two figures are placed on either side of a large window. Able to feel each other’s presence but unable to directly communicate, they trace surfaces and outlines of a shared memory space. They search for paths to follow and possible connections through the impassable void between them. As autonomous elements, the performers’ interactions in the space of this work suggest both a single personality with multiple perspectives and multiple personalities searching for realignment.
Both performers play “self-made” instruments designed to focus on connecting movement directly to the sound. An array of specifically chosen effects pedals – mainly focusing on various forms of time-stretching – are used to enhance and sculpt the fairly limited sounds available from the instruments. Layers of constantly expanding, disintegrating and unstable electronic micro-ecologies serve as a canvas upon which the performers try to reconnect.
you don’t belong here
10-channel audio and light sculpture
Passing through indistinct urban landscapes, faceless figures stare back, knowing you don’t belong to their world. Decaying and collapsing in on itself, this world, built upon marginalisation, gives rise to questions of rediscovering identity and reclamation of the self.
Past, present and future are explored through a lens of nostalgia and eroding memory. This work inhabits a bleak, commodified and industrialised landscape built from disparate field recordings, fragments of various texts, broken/malfunctioning objects and found sound.