LB°20 Artists


Maria W Horn

Den vita duvans lament [The White Dove’s Lament], Maria W Horn, Luleåbiennalen 2020

Maria W Horn (b. 1989, Härnösand) is a composer based in Stockholm.

Den vita duvans lament [The White Dove’s Lament] combines light and electronic sounds with a recorded vocal cycle especially composed for the Vita Duvan prison in Luleå. The cycle is based on the imagined individual voices of the inmates, represented by loudspeakers placed in the various cells of the prison. Together they form a slowly evolving tapestry of voices, with each striving for unity, but hindered by the forced isolation of the prison architecture. White and red lights reminiscent of the shifts between day and night, ask how the sensory deprivation that isolation entails affects the human consciousness. With this work Maria W Horn imagines the experience of total isolation, the silence and uncertainty, the scarcity of space and the cycles of daylight as the only indication of the passage of time. Prisoner biographies and interrogation records testify to how inadequate nutrition, bad air quality and the total absence of stimulation forced the prisoners to develop strategies to stimulate the brain and avoid psychosis.

Vita Duvan is Sweden’s only Panopticon, a style of prison architecture developed by the British philosopher Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century to impart a sense of invisible omnipresence. The polygonal structure of the space makes it possible for a minimum number of guards to monitor all inmates from a central site, without them having any way of knowing if they are being looked at or not. From the 18th century onwards, extensive reforms of the penal system in western Europe replaced the former practices of corporal punishment and public humiliation with new technologies for social control, like spatial isolation and surveillance. The interior of the cell prison was conceived as an efficient and silent machinery, where isolation would gradually bring about a profound change of character in the prisoner. Horn uses digital and analog syntheses as well as acoustic instruments to manipulate our perception of time and space through sonic extremes. Her work examines how the loss or overload of audio-visual stimuli can help transcendence into alternative mental states.

Maria W Horn (b. 1989, Härnösand) is a composer based in Stockholm.

As part of Woven Songs, in collaboration with Public Art Agency Sweden.


Den vita duvans lament, 2020
Electroacoustic composition for eight voices, synthesis, light


Vita Duvan, Luleå
21.11–14.2 2020