In light of the intensity of debate about the impact of human civilisation on our environment, our society is in the process of seeking out new connections with nature. Some authors are fascinated by recent research highlighting the ways plants communicate through chemicals and vibrations. It is only recently that bioacoustics has proved that some plants communicate through sonic vibration using mechanosensitive signalling. This method of communication is arranged in a network so that each individual both receives and relays information at the same time. Some researchers think that a larger vibrating system – from the cellular level to the ways plants use vibration to communicate – forms a communication network that follows the same principle. By extension, we could say that we are surrounded by mechanosensitive vibrations and that our body is entirely crossed by them.
This installation invites you to reconnect with the poetic concept of botanical vibration. Surrounded by vegetation, this interactive sound installation invites us to enter into physical contact with the poetic and sonorous echoes of a vibrant and benevolent whole.
It creates a vibrating ecosystem revealing the normally inaudible mechanosensitive vibrations of plants. These are perceived as points of living contact with a newly revealed vibrating world. The installation, which is based on cycles of emerging vibrations, will listen to the sounds around it. As you walk through, you will be immersed in a world of autonomous vibration. As soon as you approach these structures, you will enter the tactile dimension of the project. As you feel your way through Sophie Lecomte’s interactive designs, you can feel the vibrations and interact with them. It is through this close interaction that a musical world appears, like a score that the public can change.
From vibration to musical language, each structure emits cycles of vibrations based on the vibrations of plants. The whole installation simultaneously emits sound and listens to its environment, thus creating an immense feedback loop. This fluctuating and unpredictable basic sound is the initial musical material for the installation.
Alexandre Lévy’s resonant and fluid music uses samples of percussion instruments, echoes and harmonics to continually create this ode to vibration.
aKousthéa -Alexandre LEVY, composer and Sophie LECOMTE, visual artist-
aKousthéa is a musical creation company. To each creation by the company corresponds an original musical creation, composed specifically for the project. Founded by Alexandre Lévy, the company reflects the artist’s research and his desire to open up the musical language to creations from other artistic disciplines. For several years aKousthéa has been creating interactive exhibits that blend visual arts, dance, music and digital art. The public is invited to share a sensitive and enjoyable experience around simple themes that have nevertheless been developed with erudition: garden and movement, touch sensations, secluded trails, etc. These projects are also a way of filling heritage sites, extraordinary gardens and other places with life once again, and of bringing visitors from all walks of life back to explore them in a new light. They are also the main focus of events organised for specific groups such as school children, toddlers and people who cannot easily access such activities. Fully fledged media, the company’s installations are designed as links to be forged between contemporary creation, a wider section of society and places to be taken over. Since it was founded, aKousthéa has received widespread support from the French Ministry of Culture, CNC, Beaumarchais Foundation, Seine-et-Marne County Council, SACD and SACEM amongst others.
Alexandre Lévy, a composer, studied at the CNSM in Paris where he won four first prizes. He worked there with Édith Lejet and Michèle Reverdy. He studied composition and electroacoustic music with Michel Zbar at the Boulogne conservatory. He has composed mixed works, vocal, instrumental and stage scores including several operas. His works are performed at such musical events as the Multiphonies concert of the Musical Research Group (GRM), Biennale Musiques en scène de GRAME, Rencontres Internationales de musique contemporaine de Cergy, Festival de Musique Contemporaine d’Enghien, Académie Ravel de Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Concours International de Mélodie de Toulouse. He won the grant from the Beaumarchais Foundation for his chamber opera L and has received several commissions from the French State. He writes incidental music and sound installations together with visual artists and theatre companies for cross-cutting projects.
A visual artist, Sophie Lecomte graduated from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (Henri Cueco studio) and the Faculté d’Arts plastiques (Paris I). Through her work she seeks to compose poetics of the passing time and weaves a polymorphous world from sculpture, installations, videos, drawings and watercolours. With gentleness and cruelty, she crafts poetics of hybridisation – aimed at reaching out to a forgotten, diluted memory. Little by little she writes a personal natural history where the kingdoms intermingle and where forms metamorphose and call into question the perpetual movement of existence – the invisible effort of time and of disappearance. For six years, Sophie Lecomte has been working in partnership with Alexandre Levy on creating videos and sound installations. She has exhibited at such museums as the Museu do traje (Salvador de Bahia, Brazil), Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art (Macedonia) and Musée de Fontenay-le-Comte…