The work of Jacob Kirkegaard explores ways to reflect on complex, unnoticed or unapproachable conditions and environments. In 1981, at the age of six, Kirkegaard made his first sound recordings and in 1994 he was introduced to the world of sound art. His works have treated themes such as radioactivity in Chernobyl and Fukushima, border walls in global and metaphorical contexts and melting ice in the Arctic. Two of his recent works are immersive acoustic explorations into global waste management and of processes related to when a human being dies. Since 2006 Kirkegaard has also been extensively researching, recording and creating works using otoacoustic emissions; tones generated from the actual human ear. The core element and method of Jacob Kirkegaard's work derive from the use of sound recordings of the tangible aspects from its intangible themes.
Kirkegaard's sound works have been released on labels such as Important Records (USA), Touch (UK) and Posh Isolation (DK). He is a founding member of the sound art collective freq_out as well as the not-for-profit arts organisation TOPOS. Jacob Kirkegaard has presented his works at galleries, museums, biennales and concert spaces throughout the world, including MoMA in New York, LOUISIANA - Museum of Modern Art and ARoS in Denmark, The Menil Collection and at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, The Sydney Biennale in Australia, Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan. He has gallery representation through Fridman Gallery (New York, USA) and Galleri Tom Christoffersen (Copenhagen, DK). His work is in the collections of LOUISIANA - Museum of Modern Art and at ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Museum Sønderjylland in Denmark, and Bell Gallery at Brown University, USA. In 2022 he received the Eckersberg Medal from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (Akademiraadet) in recognition of outstanding achievements in the arts.
Between 2001 and 2005 Jacob Kirkegaard obtained an MA from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany where he studied under Siegfried Zielinski and Anthony Moore. In 2016 Kirkegaard was the sound-artist-in-residency at St. John's College, University of Oxford, U.K. In 2018 Jacob collaborated with Nairobi-based UN-HABITAT’s Waste Wise Cities Programme to create a series of works related to global challenges of waste management and informal waste sectors. The collaboration continues in 2022 and 2023 when employed by UN-HABITAT’s Waste Wise Cities Programme as a sound recordist as well as a consultant, providing awareness raising materials for the global plastic treaty, currently being negotiated between the countries of the global community. In 2022 Jacob Kirkegaard was appointed a guest professorship at the School of Music, Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany where he is teaching and conducting research.