As the title reveals, Olof Olsson’s work, Ulysses Jukebox, consists of a jukebox and James Joyce’s novel Ulysses – the latter in a recorded version performed by ninety-eight Danish cultural figures. The recording documents a non-stop marathon reading of the first Danish translation of Ulysses on the occasion of the 1000-year anniversary of the city of Roskilde in 1998.
Olsson has transferred the recordings to ninety-eight CDs – one for each reader – complete with a correspond-ding menu that visitors can flip through by using the arrow buttons of the jukebox. After deciding on a track, you type in four digits: two for the CD and two for the CD track and then you can take a seat in one of the yellow, West German camping chairs and listen to Tommy Kentner, Suzanne Brøgger, Pia Juul, Svend Auken, Peter Laugesen, Tania Ørum, Claus Beck-Nielsen (sic) or whomever you chose among the many readers. Please note that it takes the jukebox 15 seconds to start playing the selected track.
Ulysses unfolds during a single day, the 16th of June 1904, and follows the protagonist Leopold Bloom around the streets of Dublin. The structure of the book corresponds to Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey – Ulysses being the Latinised name of Homer’s Greek hero Odysseus. The book was first published in Paris in 1922 – just five years before Automated Musical Instrument Company (AMI) started producing jukeboxes for shellac records in Michigan.
Olsson’s AMI jukebox for CDs was, however, produced in 1994 and bought second-hand in Roskilde at the beginning of 2016. A sticker inside the jukebox also reveals on what day in 1994 the jukebox left the factory: June 16.
Working primarily with performance for the past decade, Olsson considers the jukebox as a stand-in for the performer. He produced Ulysses Jukebox for the 25-year anniversary exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde in early 2016.
Ulysses Jukebox is on display in Gallery 0.
Exhibition period: 27 September 2016–31 March 2017