When the Norwegian cadets laid the first granite blocks as a foundation for a cannon position on Christiansø's second highest hill in 1684, they could not possibly have imagined what the tower would house just short of 340 years later.
This is written by Kirsten Th. Jacobsen from Christiansø in a press release about Saturday's multimedia concert, which Ste van Holm was behind. The artist with the civil name Stefan Holm has lived on Christiansø for the past few years.
Store Tårn, which today functions as an art museum and cultural center, was the backdrop for a sound and light show orchestrated by the ensemble Ste van Holm & Friends. For an hour and a half, films were shown on screens set up for the occasion, laser beams formed colorful fans and figures, while this year's art exhibition "The tower in the tower" became an active part of the light show.
- On stage you found five musicians who guided the audience with a sure hand through an electronic sound tapestry, where Tanja Hollerup's voice stood as a solid centre. Behind her was guitar and bass, while she was flanked on either side by an arsenal of electronic devices. Often the musicians only appeared as silhouettes to emphasize that it was the show that was in focus, writes Kirsten Th. Jacobsen.
There was free entry, and already half an hour before the concert was to start, Christiansø Støtteforening had to get more chairs, as significantly more people came than expected.
Kirsten Th. Jacobsen states that all rentals on Christiansø were fully booked in connection with the concert.
- So if you didn't manage to secure accommodation, you have to hope that Ste van Holm & Friends will bring the show to Bornholm. Hereby, a reccomendation has been passed on to the Allinge Dome. Otherwise, there is an opportunity to experience Ste van Holm & Friends when the show plays on a river barge in Berlin in October, she states."
As a prelude to the concert on Christiansø, Bornholms Tidende has published a short notice about the concert in Gongladen. It's in danish, but here's a translation:
Multimedia show in the tower
Yesterday, Christiansø artist Ste van Holm had premiere of his latest multimedia show in Gongladen in Rødby, and on Saturday 9 September at 8:30 p.m. the work will be performed at a home concert in Store Tårn on Christiansø, says a press release which continues:
The tower will be filled with sound, light and film in a show, that visually resembles Kraftwerk or Jean-Michel Jarre in mini format, while the music has more in common with Mike Oldfield and Pink Floyd.
The concert is organized in collaboration with Christiansø Administration, why there will be free admission.
Ste van Holm is one of the musicians whose name does not resonate with the general population, but whose work you have - with reasonable probability - heard anyway, since the artist has provided music for series of documentaries on DR, such as "When two genders are not enough" and "Panic before closing time" - and helped with the creation of albums with names like Michael Falch, Big Fat Snake, Mike Tramp, F-A-R, Heatherhill and more.
Ste van Holm has also made the films "Traumfestival" and "Die Intonatore" with and about the German industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubatuen, as well as directed music videos for King Crimsons' Trey Gunn and further released eight solo albums in various genres from progressive rock to pop, disco, ambient and industrial.
Local newspaper, Bornholms Tidende, has a nice feature on me and the forthcoming concert at Store Tårn. It is in danish, but you can read a translation below:
Multimedia artist Stefan Holm has been making music for many years as both a solo artist and in collaboration with major Danish andinternational names. Two years ago he settled on Christiansø, and in September he will make a multimedia show there at the Great Tower, 'Store Tårn'.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
– Genre confused. I'm not that interested in repeating if I've done something once. That's what keeps me going. To try to challenge myself and walk new paths. It has proven to be a hindrance sometimes, because I find it difficult to maintain an audience. Because when someone has opened their eyes for what I have done, they disappear, because then I do something else. But I won't compromise on that.
What type of art do you do?
- The backbone is being a musician. I have released eight solo albums and at least as many collaborating with others. I love music videos and think it's a fun genre. So I threw myself into that too. But again, it's the music the foundation, and then movies are built on top of that. And when I play concerts, it is the music that forms the core, and then comes the rest of the show building upon that.
What have you done before?
- I have worked for other musicians and supported their work. I have been in Germany and made a documentary film about the band Einstürzende Neubatuen, who were the first in the world to make a crowdfunded album.
I have worked a lot with a Danish musician called Klaus Schønning, who makes instrumental synthesizer music. I've made some music videos to support when he does something new. I also helped design his general visual expressions such as album covers, album concepts and suggestions for titles. I've toured with a band called Entakt, have appeared on a single album with Michael Falch and when Big Fat Snake was around I was involved in some stuff there.
Your stage name is Ste van Holm...
- When I joined a composer's association in the 90s, there were several guitarists named Stefan Holm, so how should they know they got the right one? Then I got a letter from a Dutchman I had been in contact with on the phone who spelled it out Dutch, where they use 'van' as a kind of middle name. And then I laughed at it, because I could take that as a stage name. I took it as a joke at first, but it stuck and now it's the stage name. It's pronounced Stefan Holm, it's just spelled ridiculous. I took it to stand out, but sometimes it has made things difficult. I once did something that resonated with Croatia. There was a Croatian newspaper that wrote about it, and they wrote my real name, which meant that no one could find that I had made.
You are doing a show in Store Tårn. What is it about?
- It is a really nice building, which is a perfect combination of tradition and innovation, recently decorated as art museum with new floor and fine glass roof. There is a strange feeling of something that points both backwards and forwards. I often have thought if you could make a sound and light show there. Someone from the 'Christiansø Støtteforening' association discovered that I do multimedia shows and asked if I would like to do something. So I arrange it in collaboration with them. Inside, the tower will be decorated with images, sound and light for a single evening - on September 9th. I have four video projectors set up. There will be a live band that will perform the music in sync with the images. A lighting technician is coming, there will be a light show, and maybe there will be a laser show. We are looking at what can be done.
Is there a theme to the show?
- A lot of the visuals is about the Arctic and can be seen as a comment on the fact that we have a climate crisis, where the ice is melting, and there is noone who does anything. There will also be some footage from Chernobyl, where I was inside the exclusion zone for a total of four days filming. I like to be discreet with my messages. I show my pictures, and then you have to interpret what you want to interpret. When you see the Arctic melting and a city abandoned due to a nuclear accident, you might be able to make some sense of it, but I don't say it out loud. It is a commentary on decay due to human hubris. And then I try to mix in some hope. But not too much. It's not schlager, I'm going to play. It's a bit bleak.
What do you do when you're not a musician?
- I am a teacher and teach science part-time at Christiansø School. It's the reason I can stay at all at Christiansø, because it is service housing. There is no position over here as a multimedia artist, so I do that in my spare time. I have sometimes been sad that I never had an artistic breakthrough so I could stop working. It is probably the dream of most artists to make a living from it. But it turned out to be a huge advantage during corona, because I had my bills covered elsewhere. So in that way both good and bad.
What education do you have?
- I am a trained primary school teacher with a focus on the natural sciences. I am currently also chairman of the Danish Physics and Chemistry Teachers' Association, where I am the layout designer for their two trade magazines.
Do you have no education in the arts?
- When I started out in the 90s, there was no education within what I wanted to do. Today there is an exciting place, Sonic College, in Kolding, and I'm quite envious of those who study there. I learned it the hard way by being self-taught and by master teaching. I have been employed in a recording studio, where I helped and looked over the shoulder of the sound engineers. And then I toured with the band Entakt, where I was their technician, so I was behind the mixing desk. I learned it on the road.
When did you move to Christiansø? And from where?
- I am from Copenhagen but have lived in North Zealand before I moved to Christiansø in 2021.
And why Christiansø?
- Christiansø is a magical place. So is Bornholm, and I think there are very few Bornholmers who would disagree with me, when I say these are some of the most beautiful places in Denmark. It is a very unique place with a special atmosphere. So when the chance came to get the position at the school, I saw it as a huge one privilege to be allowed to try. And I couldn't allow myself to say no to that.
Here's a short documentary about the origin of the album.