Larsen’s audio sculpture, Satellite – In the Footsteps of the Prophets plays an aural collage based on sounds recorded during his residency. Strongly opposing opinions are played out against each other on top of an atmospheric backdrop of civil unrest and spiritual chanting. The sculpture is constructed from the horn speakers and fluorescent light tubes – similar to the lights and speakers mounted on the minarets of Mosques.
Satellites are instruments for observation and communication. They are also used for surveillance and spying. 50 years ago the USSR succeeded in sending the first manmade satellite into orbit, and thus took a lead in what became known as the Space Race between USSR and its cold war rival, the USA. Launching rockets and controlling satellites at that time also meant that armies would be capable of launch (nuclear-) bombs from much greater distances than previously possible. The leader of the Space Race had world dominance. A lot has happened with space technology since the launch of Sputnik I in 1957. Today we are dependent on satellites, but it is an inescapable fact that today – more than ever, satellites serve military purposes. In today’s blind war against terrorism, surveillance plays a very important role in the constant process of finding and gathering information about potential terrorists – in our time we are all targeted as a potential threat to world piece.
Nikolaj Larsen was born in Denmark, 1971 before moving to London, where he obtained his BA (Hons.) in Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art and his MA in Fine Art Media from the Slade School of Fine Art. He now lives and works in London. Larsen’s projects occupy a space between fine art and documentary filmmaking. They are often results of artist residencies and commissions by arts institutions and international exhibitions. His work is politically engaged but sees the topics from personal point of views of the individuals and communities he depicts. Recently Larsen's works have dealt with migration - most notably the critically acclaimed projects ‘Promised Land’, commissioned by Folkestone Trienial 2011, UK; 'Ode to the Perished' (2011), commissioned by Thessaloniki Biennale 3; and 'Rendezvous' (2009), commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 9.
Exhibitions and projects include his solo exhibitions ‘Promised Land – Redux’, Dilston Grove, London (upcoming - 2013); ‘Lifeline’, Peckham Space, London (Up coming 2012),‘Promised Land’, Galerie Vanessa Quang, Paris (upcoming - 2012); ‘Do Not Use’, Revolver Galeria, Lima, Peru (2010); ‘Contes de la peripherie’, Maison du Danemark, Paris (2010); ‘Rolling In’, Volta, New York (2010); ‘Control Wanted’, Galerie Vanessa Quang, Paris (2008); ‘Rising Floating Falling’, Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, Denmark (2004). Group shows include ‘Thessaloniki Biennale’, Greece (2011); ‘Changing Stakes: Contemporary Art Dialogues With Dubai’, Mercer Union Gallery, Toronto (2011), ‘Folkestone Triennial 2011’, England; ‘Delfina Foundation Presents The Spacemakers’, Tent Gallery, Edinburgh; ‘Sharjah Biennial 9’, Sharjah (2009); ‘Distant Relations’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark (2007), ‘The Jerusalem Show’ (2007), ‘About Time’, Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, Denmark (2007), ‘Une vision du monde’, La Maison Rouge, Paris (2006); ‘Sharjah Biennial 6’, Sharjah (2003). Larsen has done residencies at Santa Fe Art Institute, New Mexico, USA, Al-Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, Sharjah Biennial 7, U.A.E.