SynestheticS (BEM) – Palace of Coudenberg

The BEM (Brussels Electronic Marathon) is over till next year! Two weeks ago, the festival ended with Balaise Production in the underground Palace of Coudenberg. How to combine sound and visuals through audiovisual installations ? This is what the Synthetics exhibition was all about. It portrayed an interesting combination of contemporary and digital art in the middle of archeological treasures.

The BEM week-end took place from 13th till the 15th of October. Concerts, workshops, DJ sets, beatmaking classes for children, and parties were on the program in several Brussels districts. Collaborations with local partners put the digital and the underground scene in the forefront, and specificially electronic music. But 3 days was too short, so it continued in the Palace of Charles Quint 5 days after the end. A great way to extend the program next to the MIM, with a last performance on the Friday 20th. A dream come true for the curious.

For the very first time, the Coudenberg opened its doors to the digital culture and to this style of music. The exhibition was also performed in collaboration with Balaise Production, a production agency dealing with promotion of independent artists. They have projects in photography, video, design, coding, DJing and VJing.

SynestheticS suggested a journey through the undergroung using 7 almost 100% Belgian audiovisual installations.

CROSSING WAVES – Julien Poidevin (BE)

The first installation lets us directly enter the universe of sound in an unusual way. A projector, a speaker, some water and vibrations : we were in front of a mechanism that could materialize waves on a screen.

A software was specially created for the installation and generated low frequencies. These were randomly modulated by the program. A microscope was also there to stream the vibrations in order to show the influence of sound on our metamobilsm.

Fascinating.

ECUME – Thomas Vacquié & Yannick Jacquet (BE) (Antivj)

A few steps further, we entered in another atmosphere. We sat down, put headphones on our head, and listened to a vinyl in front of a headless statue.

 

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Ecume is a musical collection written by Thomas Vaquié for the label Antivj. He collaborated with Yannick Jacquet in order to materialize sounds of his album by a 3D print.

A matte and concrete texture, a raw result: iIts worth seeing!

ECRAN – Charles Deville, Cyrille Hermant & Sebastian Colovic (BE)

The exhibition then continued into the caves of the Palace. The third installation was there, with an orange and red screen, an analog device… A mix between reality and fiction. This installation suggested an interaction between the visitor, sensors, sound and light.

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Our movements, our perception of reality and our image were changed through the audiovisual device. The movement was transformed into sound, the sound into image, and the image into sculpture.

MOTION IN TENSION – Martin Pirson & N-GON (BE)

Crossing the corridors, we arrived in a room where an installation combined technology, scenography and design. In a dark room, several forms crossed together and formed a suspended entity. It offers an intriguing lightshow with LED lamps.

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The design was based on an inexpensive technique using a 3D print. This autonomous installation grouped together several interdependant shapes like squares, triangles and rectangles.

PERMA-PATCH/1GROOT – Gijs Gieskes (NL)

In a corner of the basement, our attention was immediately drawn by the artwork of Gijs Gieskes We were somewhat puzzled as we watched this moving machine. Many objects were linked and connected together, auckwardely but not by chance, a bit like a patched together object of a grandfather.

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Gijs Gieskes is a DIY-artist, but also a musician, hacker and an expert in modding. He creates and invents from objects of the daily life, he changes Gameboys into music instruments… Gieskes is one

of theses artists who reinvented the design of electronic devices that we know, into hybrid systems and artifacts.

AIR – Vold Collective (BE)

The journey is nearly over. We entered in a room where glass tubes were suspended from the ceiling, and where strange and celestial noises made us shudder.

The installation of the Brussels collectiive VOID questions our perception of reality. AIR uses low frequencies, inaudible to humans, considered as silence which are broadcasted through tubes. The moving air produces a sound which creates a very special feeling.

THE SMARTPHONE ORCHESTRA (NL)

At the end, a dark and smoky room was waiting for us. Everything was written on the screen.

This installation was created to listen to the cover “The Robots” of Kraftwerk, during 7 minutes. The instruments and voices were played by the audience. The composition was divided into 5 parts, shared between 5 phones. It was possible to exchange the parts between the playbacks.

These installations are perhaps quite complex but they enable us to experience sound in a totally different and original way. It was also a great opportunity for us to (re)discover a legendary venue in Brussels … Well, we’ll be back next year!

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