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Maia Urstad | ISIS Arts
Maia Urstad

Maia Urstad

Maia Urstad, a sound artist based in Bergen, Norway, joined ISIS in 2009 for a 3-week research residency. Maia's research was based around using and adapting portable radio systems and local FM-transmissions. Maia explored the Northumberland coast where she carried out experiments with multiple radios, broadcastings signals across the North Sea from the cliffs of Howic and the beaches surrounding Bamburgh in an attempt to communicate across the sea, attempting to reach her home town of Bergen.

Based on a fascination with the survival of radio beyond recent technological changes, while the CD, cassette tape, mini disc are becoming obsolete the radio seems to be "ever-lasting". Maia's intrigue stems from a deeper interest in how we communicate, how messages are sent and received and how they are converted on their way.

In many of Urstad's works communication technology is a recurring theme, often with the use of radio as a central auditory, visual and conceptual element. In particular, she has a fascination for different methods and technologies that are used in our recent history in order to communicate over distances - from communication between the captain and engineer of the older ships (where one stays over the deck, the other in a noisy machinery), via telegraph, Morse code and other radio communications over the ocean and great distances - to the present day innovation - the digital terrestrial network and the use of fibre optics.

Maia Urstad Bio

Maia Urstad is an artist working at the intersection of audio and visual art. She graduated from The Bergen National Academy of the Arts in 1981 whilst a member of ska/new-wave group 'Program 81', releasing 4 records and touring between 1979-84.

In the 80s, her artistic medium migrated toward sound experimentation, and she has since 1987 worked with sound in various art projects, installations, site-specific concerts, theatre and films in Norway and internationally.

Her work involves integrating sound into specific locations. Recent practice includes outdoor and indoor sound installations and performances, using CD and cassette-radios for both sound transmission and as sculptural objects, commenting on the temporary nature of present technology. The sound-textures for these projects are made from found/concrete sound sources, particularly signals from radio broadcast and telecommunication. At present she is investigating multi-channel FM transmissions sent to multiple radios as sound installations and performances.

Maia Urstad curates and produces sound- related art projects and exhibitions through her company 'Maur Prosjekter', and has collaborated with a wide range of artists, curators and producers over the years. She has been awarded The Norwegian Governments working grant for artists 2008 - 2010.

She is a member of freq_out, a group sound installation curated by C.M.von Hausswolff and a founding member of Lydgalleriet(N), a sound based art gallery in Bergen, Norway.

Maia Urstad is published by Touch Music (MCPS).

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