Staffan Mossenmark

A lot of the time Mossenmark’s artistry focuses on our public places, everyday sounds and the sounding things that surround us everyday. Working in public spaces and using them as arenas for artistic expression is a way of exploring venues and stages distinct from those that are traditional and defined as such.
Public space is a place for free expression, a place where the city acts as the citizens’ own veranda or patio and the square is the stage and space for manifestations, demonstrations or, quite simply, free speech.
Public space is a venue where political, social and economic power structures operate together and society becomes visible. It is here that the observer and listener can focus on the social and sonic structures existing in these environments and create concentrations of these ongoing processes.

An awareness of both the difficulties and possibilities posed by public space is generated by the work of decoding and analysis. There is a complexity here that is in itself the precondition for creating a venue for artistic expression.

As a sound and performance artist with over 25 years’ experience of working in public space, Mossenmark has found that one question in particular is the essential driving force behind his explorative interactions: what does it mean, artistically, to recognise and respect the democratic right of people to have access to art in what we call public space?
He has succeeded in reaching out to a general audience, beyond the traditional music and culture audiences. For him an important, and indeed central, goal Is to invite – and communicate with – an audience that has no special knowledge, and in this way try to break down the borders and hierarchies.

Mossenmark is often seen as a person who goes his own way and combines different ways of staging composed music and sound art. His catalogue includes several operas (such Mrs Björks destiny and adventures, The Changeling and Stjärneborg) as well as many chamber works composed for distinguished musicians. At the same time many of his projects are centred on public space, sometimes involving unusual settings and combinations of instruments or sounding objects. Examples are OZONE II - concert for 24 ice cream vans, Phony - concert for cellphones, Song of a Siren - concert for boats, V8 - concert for American cars, Iron - concert for bodybuilders, Scooter Ballet - concert for snow scooters, WROOM - concert for 100 Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Good vibrations - concert for Dynapack machines.

Mossenmark’s compositions and performance, often accompanied by huge media attention, have been presented all over Europe as well as in the USA, Canada, Japan, China, Russia and Australia. He has given numerous lecturers, workshops around Europe at academies of music, art, architect and design and has played an active role in EU-funded projects involving up to as many as 10 countries.

Mossenmark is today full professor at the Academy of Music and Drama, Göteborg University, Sweden, where he teaches and tutors in the artistic area of performative sound art, site specific performance and sound art in public places. He conducts research in the field of public space as a venue for art and public expression and is a part of USIT - Urban Sound Institute, a research group with members from the fields of architecture, public space, acoustics and composition.

Since 2010 he has been the artistic director of the GAS festival (Gothenburg Art Sounds) and since 2007 has been one of the founder members and artistic directors of Verona Risuona, a festival in which art, music and performance take place in the streets and public spaces of Verona, Italy.