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Nicole Cecilie Bitsch Pedersen
Working Title: Spinning Gold


It is well documented that income inequality is on the rise, with the richest 10 percent earning up to 40 percent of total global income. The poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 and 7 percent of total global income.

During the economic crisis triggered by the corona pandemic, in which hundreds of millions of people have become unemployed, the world's billionaires in total have become over 500 billion richer. In a world where economic equality seems more and more unattainable, we are no longer talking only about the 10% or 1 percent richest, but the 0.01% richest. With the focus on world goal 10, less inequality, questions arise such as;


  • Are poor countries underdeveloped, or overexploited for their natural resources and cheap labor?

  • What do we each spin gold on, and is it at the expense of something or some others?

  • What does a world look like where everyone has the same access to knowledge, resources and opportunities?


Inequality plays up To Annebergparken's 17 Goals On My Mind, I want to contribute a work that takes the form of a fusion between the harp as an elite instrument and the graph of economic inequality. The harp extends in both poor and rich end out and up over the graph's own boundary.

"With the work, I want to create space for a physical and sensory experience with inequality via the harp graph as a physical instrument. At the same time, I want with the work to make an exalted and elitist instrument like the harp accessible to all."



The work draws inspiration from the Lorenz curve which is a graphical representation of the distribution of income or wealth, the so-called GINI figures. A perfectly equal income distribution would be one where each person has the same income, whereby the curve becomes a diagonal. The deeper the curve, the more inequality between rich and poor.


The work also finds inspiration in the decoration of historical noble possessions, such as Marie-Antoinette's own harp, which was perfectly fine decorated with carvings, ornate paintings and plated with gold. The sound source of inspiration for the work is the Æolsharpen, an outdoor instrument that produces sound when the wind blows along the strings. Where the sound of the traditional harp will typically be described as clear and harmonious, the aeolar harp is more melange, a surface of more disharmonious sounds that can be compared to the sound surface in a constructive and eerie film scene. The title of the work refers to the familiar expressions of 'spinning gold on' something and `distress teaches naked woman to spin ', possibly derived from the story of Rumleskaft.


The folktale tells the story of a poor peasant daughter who has to spin straw for gold for the king, along the way she meets the figure Rumleskaft who helps her against getting her necklace, finger ring, and finally her firstborn. Via the carvings of the harp's gold top, I want, in the same way as the spinning wheel in the fairy tale, to elevate the harp to a 'magical' instrument, where the viewer / listener through the stroke can equalize inequality for a short moment.


The work is an extension of my artistic practice with works such as Gong for Time and the upcoming installation Bells and Múrurin, which through interaction with the work makes directly bodily sensory experiences with the sound available. I see the works as one long composition; the potential for the sound is constantly present, even when visitors are not at the work or when they are just 'watching'.



Photo: Sketch by Nicole Cecilie Bitsch Pedersen

sketch nicole bitsch.jpg

Photo: Sketch by Nicole Cecilie Bitsch Pedersen



The work's square `graph shape 'is forged in iron which over time oxidizes to a red-rusty and rough surface. The sound box is made of the same metal, with 2 holes where the sound comes out, and works acoustically like a traditional harp, where the sound box under the strings contributes to resonance and amplification of the estimated strings.


In the iron square, the graph itself is drawn from a curved piece of wood in which the strings are tightened. The wood graph is made of untreated wood that fades over time. At the top of the graph that protrudes beyond the shape, there is, in the same style as ultra ornate harps, a carved and gold-plated top. The frame itself is 2 meters high, where the gold-plated piece protrudes above the graph and the viewer.

The highest point on the work is approx. 2.5 meters, longest 3.20 meters and 0.5 meters wide. Sound box and frame are made of iron, which over time achieves a rusty and rough surface. The neck of the harp is made of a long piece of unpainted wood, in which pins, tuners and finally 100 strings are mounted. The top of the wooden neck is decorated with carvings and gold leaf. The work is securely fastened by casting it in a concrete plinth under the sound box.



The different parts of the work are sourced locally as far as possible. A local smithy produces the iron skeleton and wood for the harp's neck comes from a local sawmill. During the erection and tensioning of the strings lies a great deal of sonic work. Here I want to involve local musicians and sound interested, both for sparring and talking about the sonic content, but also to explore and record the sound possibilities in the instrument.

Nicole Cecilie Bitsch Pedersen

Nicole Cecilie Bitsch Pedersen (b. 1990) is an artist and composer educated from the Danish Institute of Electronic Music at the Jutland Conservatory of Music in Aarhus.


Her work spans a wide range and covers electronic music, soundscapes and acusmatic composition, film sound, visual art, installations and sculptures that combine sound, nature and technology.
She lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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