Video by Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert
Music by Stephen O’Malley
Dawn spreads its luminous rays across the coast of Iceland, to reveal a sorcerer standing between wine-dark sea and mountainous black rock. He is tempestarii, a figure of medieval lore, undertaking a primitive rite manifested to conjure a storm. The tides of the deep ocean breathe heavily rising and falling across the cinema screen with amplifying power, as the weather-maker beats a mysterious sack against the monolithic cliffs with powerful repetition. As a magical tool, this sack contains forceful winds pulled from each corner of world. As an analogy, it is aligned with the revolutionary transformations of nature by water, air, solar radiation, and geological shifts and filled with the vast potential of man’s will in alliance with Nature. As an omen, the tempestarii signals profound change on both physical and metaphysical realms. (Amelia Ishmael)
We have inherited the figure of the "tempestarii” from medieval wisdom and, in this specific case, he appears in the coast of Iceland where devastating natural events can throw us into lava fields and icy caves, driven by 100km/h arctic winds. In the black cliffs of the island, the tempestarii conjures up storms and their whirlwind of forces, combining disorder and renewal. The two artists and filmmakers, Gast Bouschet and Nadine Hilbert evoke these weather-charmer in the context of an immersive audiovisual and image experience that aligns contemporary art with meteorological magic and political activism. They will be joined by Stephen O'Malley, considered to be one of the hooded guardians of grandiose distortion, born out of from huge walls of amplifiers, guitar drones, cyclic waves of sonic pressure and improvisational explorations hailing from the darkest corners of the mind.
After originally premiering in 2013, "Tempestarii" is different and unique in each performance. However it is based on reciprocity between sound and visual work. Together they walk along the razor's edge that defines the encounter between art and magic, making it possible to meander between the possibility of participation in a game of forces that achieves a greater dialogue with the most intimate urges of our planet. A question arises: "Is the tempestarii acting in accordance with his own goals or is he a messenger from Nature?"
Stephen O’Malley (b. 1974) was born in New Hampshire, USA and raised in Seattle. He eventually spent a decade in New York and presently is based in Paris. O’Malley is a founding member of several groups including Thorr's Hammer (1993), Burning Witch (1995), Sunn O))) (1998), Khanate (2000), KTL (2005), Nazoranai (2011), ÄÄNIPÄÄ (2011) and others. He is a frequent collaborator of many outsider musicians, artists and composers in various formations, in concert and studio settings. He was also part of the formative teams which created the Southern Lord (1998) and Ajna Offensive (1995) record labels, and has worked as the art director for the Misanthropy records label (1997-2000) and others. In 2011 he created the Ideologic Organ record label in collaboration with Peter Rehberg / Editions Mego. Wildly prolific, O’Malley’s oeuvre is defined by its remarkable breadth, complexity and multidisciplinary interests. It includes collaborations with a wide range of experimental musicians, including Scott Walker, Merzbow, Jim O’Rourke, Keiji Haino, Mats Gustaffson, Peter Rehberg, and Oren Ambarchi; French choreographer and theater director Gisèle Vienne; author Dennis Cooper; contemporary composers Iancu Dumitrescu, Roger Tessier, Eyvind Kang and Alvin Lucier; Israeli conductor Ilan Volkov; American sculptor Banks Violette; Italian performance artist Nico Vascellari; Luxembourg’s filmmaker artists Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert; Swiss artist Emily Ding; American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch; Fashion designer Rick Owens; Belgian filmmaker Alexis Destoop; and many others.
Gast Bouschet & Nadine Hilbert began collaborating in the 1990s. They have since created a complex body of work that challenges the fundamental principles underlying structure, visibility and power. Their practice spans an extensive range of media including photography, sound, video, drawing and text based work. Bouschet and Hilbert's interventions are put into effect in marginal places and wilderness areas away from the public gaze as well as in contemporary art institutes and music festivals including Serralves, Porto, Portugal; BPS22, Charleroi, Belgium; Insomnia Festival, Tromsø, Norway; Bozar Brussels, Belgium; Darling Foundry Montreal, Canada; Cube Space Taipei, Taiwan; Philharmonie, Luxembourg; Muzeum Sztuki Lodz, Poland; Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria; Casino Forum d’Art Contemporain, Luxembourg; Busan Biennale of Contemporary Art, South-Korea; Camouflage Johannesburg, South Africa; Muhka Antwerp Belgium and CCA Glasgow, United Kingdom among others. In 2009 they represented Luxembourg at the 53rd Venice Biennale.