Lives and works between Brussels and Berlin.
The sonic performative piece Athens, Song I-IV (2021) is the machinic heart of the biennale. This modus that Billy John Bultheel’s musical‑composition‑cum-performative‑organ reflects is the idea that the whole world is built on an industry of speed, velocity, and globalisation. This mechanism that creeps into the rhythm of our veins and makes us dance is algorithmic, started by humans but ruled by something else. Working with the notion that music can contain fictions that guide and tell a viewer what to see in the space, he creates scores that play off contemporary politics, historical events, and the listener’s own hormonal blueprint. Athens, Song I-IV has been produced site-specifically and encoded through recordings that offer the viewer a chance to feel the hauntology of both the live performer and the pixel presence of advancing technologies in the realm of capture, the new call and response.
In the past, Bultheel has worked with musical compositions that act as blueprints for the architecture of the spaces he and his collaborators perform in. Directing the musicians to dance themselves through the scores, their bodies frequently become kinetic sculptures built for frequency and shape rather than score alone. Bultheel frequently posits his sound with the framework of political and emotional discourse dislodging the common interpretation that sound should be rendered apolitical.
Athens, Song I-IV, 2020-2021
Multidisciplinary Installation (performance, music, video, sculpture), 40'00''
Courtesy of the artist
Commissioned and produced by the Athens Biennale
With the support of the Flemish Fund and the Assistant Grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee
Concept, Composition, Installation, Performance: Billy Bultheel
Performance and Sound Design: Alexander Iezzi
Performance: Steve Katona
Performance: Shade Theret
Video Consultancy: Enad Marouf
Styling: Billy Lobos
Installation Assistant: Mads Kristian Frøslev
Cinematography: Nysos Vasilopoulos
Production: Athens Biennale