Speculum Musurgica is a sound and vision environment, consisting of seven cylindrical anamorphoses and seven layers of sound, arranged in a heptagonal structure. Each cylindrical anamorphosis—a distorted image that can be observed in reconstituted form through reflection in a cylindrical mirror—shows in its double-mirrored image one singer, while a spherical speaker directly underneath projects the sound of that particular singer.
In the centre of the installation the multiple sound layers coalesce into a surround sound. The visitor of the installation is immersed in sound, and visually surrounded by seven anamorphoses. The human visual perception system however does not afford a surround view, and the visitor is forced to make choices. When approaching an individual anamorphosis, dynamically gauging the double face of the warped projection and the reflection in the mirror, the strange illusion of three-dimensionality of the reflected image—as if captured in a glass container—manifests itself in a strong sense of presence of the performer. It is as if the visitor takes in a privileged position in the setting, and is being personally addressed by the singer. At the same time, by physically approaching one of the speakers, the voice of that specific singer is amplified, which allows for a more analytical listening mode.
Speculum Musurgica uses its spatial lay-out as an intuitive physical interface for the visitor. The installation offers a scripted space wherein visitors choose for themselves between a more immersive experience or a more analytic exploration, resulting in a completely personal encounter with the rich polyphonic texture of the music. It is the other-worldly setting incorporating multiple anamorphoses suspended above the visitor accompanied by multilayered sound that triggers visitors to 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.