It’s been already 2 weeks since we had the first installation of our project Les Payages Pulsionnels, and it took us a few weeks to fully recover from the preparation and to let our thoughts settle to be able to write an unbiased post about it.
But first of all we want to thank our Académie professor Geoffroy De Volder for believing in our project and helping out with the conceptualization of it, and Patrick Codenys, member of the popular electronic music group Front 242 and professor of the audio installation class, for pushing us and for helping us with the sound design. And all our friends for supporting us first and for coming and visit the installation.
How was exactly this first installation?
It was downstairs, in the “cave”, in two dark connected rooms, each of almost 2m x 2m, with a passage between them and with a tiny light at the bottom of the second room: people entered, and as soon as they dared to take step inside they started to hear a very low and short bass sound, that increased (or lowered) the tempo when they moved toward or away from the side walls. And if, following their exploratory instinct to discover the space, they entered the second room and moving toward the bottom, the low frequency sound faded away, and a new different sound, this time a very high one, started, rewarding them for having dared to explore and reach the bottom of the room.
The idea of the installation, always in line with the main concept behind the whole project, was to put the visitors in a condition in which they had to let their fear of the unknown (symbolically represented by the dark room) go away, and start to explore this new world, in the same way people that move around countries do.
The reaction of the people
It was surprising, and somehow amusing, to see the different reactions of people to this unknown world: some didn’t even dare to enter after seen all the darkness, other went just immediately past the curtain, but didn’t take the step needed to start the sound, others, I’d say the majority, only explored the first room and as soon as the hit the first wall the decided to come back, and others, after having explored the first room, crossed the passage and entered the second room and experienced the “reward” sound. And then also the ones that after having understood how it worked, stayed inside up to 5 minutes and played with the sounds.
Also was interesting also to notice how adults and kids reacted differently: the latter were the ones that explored the most, showing no fear of the dark, and going straight till the end, while adults where a bit reticent.
Some of the visitors were also so kind to give us some feedback.
The vernissage and the exhibit
At first we were a bit nervous because we had to leave the software running unattended on a old laptop for 4 days in a row, and because of the last minute fixes we had to do to cope with the shape of the room, but after a while, seeing people entering the room and coming out with a smile on their face, all the worries were swept away (that and the open bar). And surprisingly the old laptop held very well the continuous load, and didn’t let us down, also thanks to Ivana, the secretary of the school and artist, that turned it off and on all the days.
All in all it was a great experience, we met lots of interesting people and most importantly we saw how people reacted, and how we can improve, both from the conception and the technological standpoint.