Speculum Musurgica

My new installation Speculum Musurgica had its première a few days ago, August 18 2015, and is exhibited in Antwerp Cathedral till November 22, 2015.

Speculum Musurgica, 2015 - detail

I made this new installation for an exhibition on Petrus Alamire, with as content two seven-voice compositions from Petrus Alamire’s sixteenth century music manuscripts: the motet Memorare Mater Christi of Matthaeus Pipelare, and the anonymous chanson Proch Dolor, an elegy on the death of Emperor Maximilian, performed by Paul Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble.

The heptagonal media installation Speculum Musurgica consists of ingenious mirror structures and sound projections that invite visitors to take a physical walk through the rich polyphonic texture of the music.
In a spatialized setting, each of the seven singers is projected individually, for both sound and vision. In the centre of the installation the multiple auditory layers coalesce into a surround sound. On the other hand a more analytic listening mode is possible by physically approaching one of the performers. For the visual layers I use the technique of cylindrical anamorphosis: a distorted image can be observed in its reconstituted form through reflection in a cylindrical mirror. Observing one single anamorphosis brings the visitor closer to the projected image (and sound) of one individual musical performer and amplifies the analytical listening mode. The multiple use of anamorphosis however forces the visitor to make choices and invites to spatially and physically explore and experience the polyphonic texture of the music. In this multi-layered universe, visitors choose for themselves which individual musical lines to emphasize. They go in search of interesting perspectives – whether auditory, visual or a combination of the two – and create their own individual experience of the polyphonic music performed.

Speculum Musurgica is part of my practice-based PhD in media arts, wherein I focus on the appropriation of cylindrical anamorphosis. Using a media archaeology inspired methodology of short-circuiting past and present, I gauge the affordances of this seemingly obsolete seventeenth century media technology and its significance for how we engage with the techno aesthetics of contemporary society.

To wet your appetite: Belgian television had a newsitem on the exhibition & the Laus Polophoniae music festival – also with Petrus Alamire as theme this year – in which my new installation Speculum Musurgica features prominently: http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws/videozone/programmas/journaal/2.40618?playlist=7.39644&video=1.2418561#

 

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