According to Greek mythology, Echo was a mountain nymph who wasted away because of her unreciprocated love for the handsome Narcissus. In the end, all that remained of her was her voice. Narcissus, on the other hand, was in love with himself and his own reflection.
The nymph – Echo – gave her name to the fascinating phenomena everybody is familiar with – resonance, reverberation, echo. People know intuitively where it happens: in caves, subways, cathedrals and tube stations. We feel obliged to rein in our natural instinct to shout, sing or clap until there is nobody else around. Only then can we let go and try out the range of sounds we have at our disposal. It’s incredible – that our carefully controlled, tiny voices can fill a whole room with such intense sound. But then think about Joshua, whose trumpets brought down the walls of Jericho, or the shout that brings about an avalanche.
An echo has no mind of its own, it simply replicates and enhances. It hides traces of dryness and roughness, sending back a smoother, more flattering sound, full of depth and mystery. An echo is a much sought-after and exotic product that can be bought for money. Radar, sonar and ultra-sound scanning devices show us the invisible things that are found around us and inside us: Shoals of fish, birds, aircraft, underwater rocks and holms, foetuses and internal organs.
The brain has its own echo. A single reminder: A smell, a sound or an image can send the neurons on an internal voyage to collect memories that have been stored outside the reach of our consciousness. It throws these up to the surface, maybe a little hazy and out of focus, but nevertheless, an imprint, or echo or something we experienced long ago.
Catalogue text by Rune Klakegg