Swiss artist Zimoun shows us a new way to experience sound

Zimoun, who lives and works in Bern in Switzerland, creates immersive site-specific audiovisual installations using commonplace industrial materials.

by Shraddha Nair Published on : Dec 01, 2020

As a 90s born millennial, I grew up, like many other kids, devouring cartoon content which streamed on our televisions (a concept before internet streaming was invented) on channels like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. In particular, there was a show called The Jetsons. It was created first in the 1960s but the premise was set in a futuristic setting with robots, flying cars, holograms and other advanced technology. To me the series idealised the concept of being everywhere at once through technology, being able to accomplish numerous tasks with minimal effort. The robot housekeeper and even the furniture had multiple functions. It was an introduction to the idea of multitasking, something which seeped into our everyday habits with the help of technology. However, the more complex our circuit boards became, the more short-fused our capacities grew. Today in 2020 we find ourselves reaching out towards practices which help us do less and focus on being mindful of the “now”. From yoga to tai chi, age old practices of being present are becoming more popular than ever. So, maybe multitasking wasn’t the answer after all?

Zimoun (also known as Studio Zimoun) is a self-taught artist from Bern, Switzerland, who embodies a meditative mood, which roots you firmly in the present.

20 mins watch A compilation of artworks by Zimoun | Studio Zimoun | STIRworld
A compilation of artworks by Zimoun Video: Courtesy of Studio Zimoun

Zimoun creates audiovisual installations unlike any other. His sounds are not pre-recorded and his visuals do not appear as arrangements of pixels on a screen. Rather, they are fully rooted in the here and now. The installations use movement and acoustics of a space to create site-specific works. Zimoun’s practice takes us back to a time before digital formats, before even analog formats, into a space of pure existence as he succinctly describes: “In my installation work what you hear is what you see, and what you see is what you hear”.

02 mins watch An installation by Zimoun using 510 prepared dc-motors, 2142m rope, wooden sticks 20cm | Studio Zimoun | STIRworld
An installation by Zimoun using 510 prepared dc-motors, 2142m rope, wooden sticks 20cm Video: Courtesy of Studio Zimoun

Zimoun places equal emphasis on the visual aesthetic and the auditory stimulus in his process of creation. The Swiss artist leans towards commonplace industrial materials, what he refers to as “honest materials”, an artistic choice which furthers his minimalist visual. “I am interested in simple, raw, unspectacular, and pure materials,” he says and elaborates, “the (material) choices are based on visual, haptic, functional and auditive criteria”.

01 min watch An installation by Zimoun using 51 prepared dc-motors, 241m rope, cardboard sticks 25 cm| Studio Zimoun | STIRworld
An installation by Zimoun using 51 prepared dc-motors, 241m rope, cardboard sticks 25 cm Video: Courtesy of Studio Zimoun

Ultimately, Zimoun’s work is an experience which is industrial but sleek, seemingly chaotic but quietly minimal and a world apart from our normative ideas of audiovisual art. Currently, Zimoun is showcasing a group exhibition in Spain, and has a few lined up next year in Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland. In the past, he has exhibited at several spaces internationally such as Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, Ringling Museum of Art in Florida, Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) Santiago de Chile and many more.

01 mins watch An installation by Zimoun using 663 prepared dc-motors, 3315m rope, steel washers ø 40mm| Studio Zimoun | STIRworld
An installation by Zimoun using 663 prepared dc-motors, 3315m rope, steel washers ø 40mm Video: Courtesy of Studio Zimoun

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