Carl Michael von Hausswolff was born in 1956 in Linköping, Sweden. He lives and works in Stockholm.
Since the end of the 1970s, Hausswolff has worked as a composer using the tape recorder as his main instrument and as a conceptual visual artist working with performance art, light- and sound installations and photography.
His audio compositions from 1979 to 1992, constructed almost exclusively from basic material taken from earlier audiovisual installations and performance works, consists essentially of complex macromal drones with a surface of aesthetic elegance and beauty. In later works, Hausswolff has retained the aesthetic elegance and the drone and added a purely isolationistic sonic condition to composing. Between 1996 and 2008 Hausswolff has boiled away even more ornamental meat from the bones: his works are pure, intuitive studies of electricity, frequency functions and tonal autism within the framework of a conceptual stringent cryption. Lately he has also developed a more conceptual form of audio art overlooking subjects such as architecture and urbanism, rats and maggots. Collaborators include Graham Lewis, Jean-Louis Huhta, Pan sonic, Russell Haswell, Zbigniew Karkowski, Erik Pauser, The Hafler Trio and John Duncan. His music and sound art can be found on labels such as Touch, Ash International, Laton, Oral, RasterNoton, Firework Edition, SubRosa and Die Stadt. His music is published by Touch Music, London.
Hausswolff’s music has been performed throughout Europe and in North America and Asia in festivals such as Sonar, Electrograph and I.D.E.A.L. In these concerts a very physical, almost brutal, side of Hausswolff’s aesthetics has blended with a droned and polyfrequential beauty. The audience very often fall into a form of trance, dosing away in their seats. Other times people experiencing the events has thanked him “for the massage” or has expressed a “feeling that the flesh came off the bones” due to the vibrations of the low frequencies used.
Hausswolff’s audiovisual works have also found outlets in pictorial art. His “Red” series using red lights in various architectural and geographical spaces has shown a rather critical side of his works. In Santa Fé an abandoned cemetery was lit up in the night time by 20 000 watts (Red Night, 1999); in Liverpool the river Mersey was treated (Red Mersey, 2004); in Luxembourg a huge building used for repairing trains was treated (Red Sky Saw, 2007); in Kaliningrad various cages and houses were lit up (Red Zoo, 2006)and in Chiangmai, Zagreb, Rijeka, Chicago abandoned houses around the cities was lighted up and photographed (Red Empty, 2003-2004). His interest in architecture and topography has also resulted in the films “Hashima, Japan 2002” and “Al Qasr, Bahriyah Oasis, Egypt, 2005” made in collaboration with Thomas Nordanstad.
In 1997 he launched a series of works under the title “Operations of Spirit Communication”. This work, inspired by Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) techniques, was combining and merging sound and vision using analogue and digital technologies such as oscilloscopes, radars and sonars. These ready-made machines were showing the possibilities of ghosts and other kinds of life forms living inside a certain space or inside the electricity grids. The cities of Paris, Linz, Bangkok, Shanghai, Banja Luka, Berlin, Kuala Lumpur, New York City, Tokyo, Frankfurt am Main, Stockholm and Copenhagen has been under this magnifying ghost glass. More recently the exhibition “The Complete Operations of Spirit Communication” was shown at OK Centrum in Linz, Austria.
His interest in audio and radio technology also came in light at the 49th Biennale di Venezia in 2001. In a collaborative work with Tommi Grönlund, Petteri Nisunen, Leif Elggren and Anders Tomrén he had constructed a radio receiver that could play all radio transmissions from the Venice area at the same time. The entire Nordic Pavilion was filled with this mix of sounds producing a beautiful and at the same time profound religious audio graphic environment. Other radio tech works include the usage of scanners and EVP frequencies.
Hausswolf has also created a series of social platforms, places where people can meet and consume. His “Thinner- and Low Frequency Bar” was used at the Momentum biennial in Moss, Norway, Prato, Italy and London and his “Glue- (Tobacco-) and High Frequency Lounge” was used in Geneva and in Prato. These works show Hausswolff’s critical view on the society’s hypocritical treatment of drugs and addiction. The audience could sniff the highly toxic substances thinner and contact glue while smoking cigarettes and getting penetrated by the either low or high sine wave tones.
In 1993 he and Leif Elggren developed the ever-lasting conceptual piece ‘The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland’. Here a new country was established in the world. Its territories was all border areas between every country, the No Man Land, mental territories such as the hypnagogue dream state and digital areas on the Internet. Paraphernalia such as a constitution including flags, coat of arms, and national hymn was produced and letters was sent to every government in the world asking for recognition. In 1995 an application for membership in the United Nations was sent in and in 2005 the New United Nations was proclaimed. Elgaland-Vargaland now has over 800 citizens and is frequently manifesting itself through the channels of conceptual art. Embassies has been established in Stockholm, Mexico City, Oujda, London, New York, San Francisco, Osaka, Barcelona, Helsinki and many other places. In 1995 the country annexed Schlaraffenland; at the 50th Biennale di Venezia in 2003 the state annexed Thomas More’s Utopia at the Utopia Station project and in 2007 the island of San Michele outside of Venice was annexed.
Hausswolff was also a freelance curator at Färgfabriken Centre for Contemporary Art and Architecture in Stockholm. From 1999 until now he has curated retrospective exhibitions by the works of the EVP pioneer Friedrich Jürgenson, his long time colleague Leif Elggren, and Swedish electronic music pioneer Rune Lindblad. He also curated a special exhibition of works by his mentor Brion Gysin as well as works by Max Fredriksson, Henrik Rylander and Henrik Andersson.
The works of Friedrich Jurgenson has also been showed in Berlin, New York City, Brussels, Goteborg, Frankfurt am Main and Karlsruhe and parallel to these shows adaptations of other potential artists such as Olga Eriksson, Martin Ekenberg, Selmer Nilsen and Jim Irwin have emerged.
IN 2003-07 he curated the sound art project ‘freq_out’ in Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Berlin, Chiang Mai and Budapest. This project includes the individual works from 12 sound artists shown in a collective way. The frequency range from 15 – 12 000 Hz was divided up into 12 sections and handed out to the artists. These exhibitions has showed a new way to deal and treat sound works as an exhibitional form, a form that mostly has been chaotic and non functional in many recent group shows. Artists included were Jacob Kirkegaard, J.G. Thirlwell, Jana Winderen, Finnbogi Petursson, Pomassl, Mike Harding, Maia Urstad, BJ Nilsen, Tommi Gronlund&Petteri Nisunen, PerMagnus Lindborg, Kent Tankred and Brandon LaBelle.
In 2003 Hausswolff curated, Against All Evens, the 2nd International Biennial for Contemporary Art in Göteborg, Sweden. Here he mixed sound artists like Ryoji Ikeda, Else Marie Pade and John Duncan with dictator painters from Libya and Cambodia; contemporary artists like Phill Niblock, Simone Kaern-Aaberg and Surasi Kusolwong with ready-made artists like Jürgenson and the inventor of the mail bomb Martin Ekenberg; painters like Jan Håfström with painters like Kim Gordon and Russell Haswell.
In spring 2005 Hausswolff completed his Starhouse project for The Land Foundation, organised by Kamin Lertchaiprasert and Rirkrit Tiravanija in Chiangmai, Thailand.