Justin Bennett’s widely ranging work is rooted both in the visual arts and in music. Bennett produces field recordings, drawings, performances, installations, audio walks, videos, and essays. He studied sculpture, electronic music and video art and much of his work combines sound, image, space and storytelling. Bennett makes work for public spaces as well as art spaces and concert venues. He collaborates with a wide range of other artists, including with BMB con., HC Gilje, Vermeir & Heiremans, Renate Zentschnig. With the project Radio New Babylon he zooms in on the contrast between Constant’s visionary city of play and the existing office complex called “New Babylon” in Den Haag.
Justin on Constant
I work a lot around the theme of cities — both real and imaginary and I have been fascinated by Constant’s New Babylon project for many years. At the moment I’m working on a project as part of the Interdisciplinary Research Group (KC, KABK, ACPA), which looks at art in public space in relation to the urban imaginary, and I decided to focus on the contrast between Constant’s visionary city of play and the actually existing office complex called “New Babylon” in Den Haag.
A recurrent theme in Bennett’s research is the public’s experience of architecture, urban development, and (un)built space. He employs sound to render it audible as well as palpable: in his work, careful listening provides a radically different way of seeing and experiencing. Bennett’s sound recording is comparable with shooting a video. He uses various microphones to change perspectives – like camera lenses. The microphones – the listener’s points-of-hearing – move through a city, a street, a windy Russian tundra, or the different-sounding spaces of a building. In many of Bennett’s works and installations, sound and voice-over are juxtaposed with video images, drawings, maps and diagrams. Thus, a reciprocity is created between various forms of expression: a drawing or a text can be a score; and sound and image become ways of drawing and writing. In this way, Bennett’s work is also a research into sound and image as specific media, and an exploration of the ways in which they can be used and experienced. His way of working sparks unexpected complementarities, synaesthetics, collisions and manipulations of the mind. Justin also teaches in the Institute of Sonology of the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague.
Check out Bennett’s Bandcamp page here or his reserach on Jubilee.
Justin has been very helpful in digitalising and analysing several audio tapes from Constant’s archive. The archive will soon be available online for research purposes on stichtingconstant.nl/archive
He also examined a mysterious apparatus, which we found in Constant’s basement, which could turn into a new project. More on that later.