Mike Rijnierse

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Mike Rijnierse (1974) is a Dutch artist, performer and educator working in the fields of light, sound and architecture. He is intrigued by sensory experience, whether visual, acoustic, spatial, or cross-senses and synesthesia, creating installations, performances, public interventions, often collaborating with other disciplines. Rijnierse has shown his works throughout Europe, Korea, Taiwan, Morocco, The United Arab Emirates and Brazil in various contexts, from media art festivals, to galleries, musea and public space. As a docent since 2009 at Interaction Design department of ArtEZ, Arnhem, Rijnierse has devised the course Design of Instruments, where students research and create instruments that transcend technological domains, exploring new and obsolete media.

Over a decade Rijnierse has developed a meticulous study on the interaction between light, pigment and the retina. He gave concrete form to his discoveries in installations, projections and light designs with the series CYMRGB. These works can be described as optical music or opto-acoustics, because coloured surfaces become animated in time by composed light projections. His work LUMOKINESE, developed in collaboration with kinetic art dinosaur Willem Marijs, has been widely exhibited since 2008 and recently being presented alongside masterpieces by László Moholy-Nagy, Dan Flavin, Adam Barker-Mill, Gianni Colombo and others, at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (NL).

One of his latest light sculptures, CUBE, operates on the kaleidoscopic principle of multiple reflections, by displaying several mirrors at perpendicular angles, forming a cube that is lit from inside. In contrast to the classical kaleidoscope, where light enters the object, CUBE embodies light from within and projects its multiplication outwards into the space. CUBE is choreographed by an autonomic algorithm that directs the synergy between light and sound, developed in collaboration with artist Rob Bothof.

These works allude to optical instruments and devices such as the Laterna magica, kaleidoscopes and the zoetrope that are considered to be precursors of film, animation and digital media. Mike Rijnierse is not guided by nostalgia, his interest is in questioning the current production of image and examining visual experience, since devices and instruments of today no longer show their process and therefore work as ‘black boxes’. By showing the process of production of light, color, source and shadow, he illustrates how illusion and vision are intertwined.

Besides his exhibitions and individual projects, Mike Rijnierse collaborates with the music theater collective Rosa Ensemble, with whom he has performed since 2001. The most recent production AKASHA which premièred in 2016, will be performed in 2017 at the renowned theater deSingel, in Antwerp (BE).

During the kick-off of SHAPE 2017 at festival Novas Frequências in Rio de Janeiro (BR) Mike Rijnierse premièred RELIEF, an installation based on the principle of echolocation by means of ultrasound. RELIEF is literally a relief mounted on a wall – not intended primarily as a sculpture to be looked at – it is about sound, reflection and orientation. RELIEF is therefore not a sound sculpture, but an echo sculpture. This work was developed in collaboration with Rob Bothof.

In fact, the phenomenon of echo and reflection is a recurring theme in the the work of Mike Rijnierse. As architect Juhani Pallasmaa wrote in ‘The Eyes of the Skin’: “Sight isolates, whereas sound incorporates; vision is directional, sound is omni-directional. The sense of sight implies exteriority, whereas sound creates an experience of interiority. I regard an object, but sound approaches me; the eye reaches, but the ear receives. Buildings do not react to our gaze, but they do return our sound back to our ears.” Through his work, Rijnierse raises awareness of our perceptive experience ‘using the city as a vast playground and field for sound experiments’ (Regina Debatty on Mike Rijnierse’s oeuvre in We Make Money Not Art, 2015)

Another facet of Rijnierse’s work are his major interventions in public space. The artist developed the THX: INT’L (landing strip) for TodaysArt festival 2007. In TodaysArt 2008 edition, he developed Station to Station, in collaboration with Staalplaat Soundsystem and Erik Hobijn. In this project the entire railway station of The Hague Central – its building, travelers, trams and trains – were used for a large scale sound performance, with the timetable of the trains and trams serving as the basis of the composition. The train tracks were interpreted as sliders of a sound mixer, while the train station operated its normal schedule. During TodaysArt 2015 Mike Rijnierse presented two works: KLOK, a 100kg church bell that was thrown down every hour from the bungy jump tower of the Pier of Scheveningen. The 60 meters freefall of the bell added a Doppler effect to its tolling sound. With 5,4,3,2,1…Lift-Off, one of the opening performances of the festival, a simulated launch of a rocket, Mike Rijnierse deployed a massive amount of light, sound, smoke and pyrotechnics, executed in coordination with a pool of experts in order to recreate the realistic effect of a rocket launch. In essence, both works, KLOK and 5,4,3,2,1…Lift-Off, are related because of their verticality and the Doppler effect represented in a monumental fall and lift-off.