ART DU TEMPS GALLERY - 12th>29th March

14 rue de l'Oratoire - 63000 CLERMONT-FERRAND

From Tuesday do Sunday - 10AM>6PM


Kaija SAARIAHO & Jean-Baptiste BARRIERE (Finlande/France)

Nox Borealis

Musical and visual installation

Presented in collaboration with the Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand, Scène nationale.

Nox Borealis is a musical and visual installation that finds its inspiration in two very different sources: one musical, the composition "Lichtbogen" by Kaija Saariaho, the other sound, the acoustic recordings made during the aurora borealis by the professor Unto K. Laine (Helsinki University of Technology, the Laboratory of Acoustics and Audio Signal Processing).

Lichtbogen, archs of light in German (1986), is a piece for an instrumental and electronic ensemble (9 musicians), that Kaija Saariaho composed after a trip, in 1985, to the polar circle, where she saw the magical and enigmatic show put on by the aurora borealis unfurling in the sky.

The sound documents by Unto K. Laine - that Saariaho and Barrière were able to listen to and study - are the research material used to analyze and understand these natural phenomena in the rich and complex environment of the northern night.

These two sources of inspiration, like two "visions" of the northern lights, convey themselves at two extremes: one subjective, which does not try to describe these phenomena but finds inspiration as the source for the musical composition, the other objective, which tries to accurately describe, yet nevertheless requires interpretation.

For Nox Borealis, starting with multi-track recordings in the Lichbogen studio that they remixed, processed, and spatialized, Kaija Saariaho and Jean-Baptiste Barrière imagined a visual dimension, with computer-generated abstract images.

These images are inspired by the music as well as by the northern lights themselves, and projected in the air, with viewers lying comfortably on the ground, in order to immerse the audience as much as possible in a situation similar to the viewers of these phenomena, lying in the snow and observing the large movements of light that swirl across the Nordic winter skies.

Starting with this reflection on the aurora borealis and the analysis of musical forms and more particularly the tones in Lichtbogen, this visual part thus outlines a speculative workshop on the exploration of the interaction of music and image, through an exploration of light and color.

Music : Kaija Saariaho
Electronic : Jean-Baptiste Barrière, Ensemble Avanti!, direction Hannu Lintu
Visual : Jean-Baptiste Barrière
Images : François Galard
Production : Cartes / Institut finlandais / image Auditive