Caten . 2012
Kinetic sound installation by David Letellier
Created for the Saint Sauveur chapel in Caen, Caten is a levitating sculpture, determined by gravity and guiding the evolution of a sound composition.
300 fine wires suspended from two ropes, connected themselves at each end to a slowly rotating arm, form an evanescent surface which interacts with the architecture.
By a symbolic mirror effect, the curves of the wires, created by the gravitational force, reflect the shapes of the church arches. Caten opposes the ephemeral to the eternal, the movement to the static, and produce a tension between the lightness and the millenary stability of the space.
The sound composition is inspired by the medieval solmisation prayers, especially the first verse of "Ut Queant Laxis", also known as the "hymn to St John the Baptist", used in the eleventh century to determine the names of the notes of the scale used in latin countries.
At each turn, the engines emit one of the first 4 notes of the scale (Ut, Re, Mi, Fa), creating a sequence of intervals, constantly reconfigured. Low frequencies resonate in the space and emphazise the transcendental character of a place once dedicated to faith.
The name is derived from the term catenary, which describes the plane curve formed by a rope hanging between two points.
Caten was produced for the festival Interstice, with the support of the Station MIR.
Tessel is a kinetic sound installation investigating the perception of sound and space.
The installation is constituted of a suspended and articulated topography of 4 x 2 m, subdivided into forty triangles. Twelve of them are fitted with motors and eight are equipped with audio transducers, thus creating a dynamic sonic space, evolving softly, constantly reconfigurated. The shape of the surface is transformed and synchronized with a musical composition, establishing a choreographic dialogue between sculpture and sound, while altering perception. Recalling Tinguely's poetic machines, Alexander Calder's mobiles or Buckminster Fuller's structures, Tessel is a sculpture that involves time and movement to continue the quest for a synesthetic perception of sonic and spatial phenomenons.
The name ‘Tessel’ is derived from ‘tessellation’, a term applied to the geometric subdivision of a surface into plane polygons, also known as ‘tiling’. This technique is also used by 3D softwares to allow the calculation of rendered images. The term has its origin in the Latin word ‘tessella’, describing the square tiles used to make mosaics.
Tessel is based on the ‘pinwheel pattern’, a non-periodic tiling coined by mathematicians Charles Radin and John Conway, which allows the creation of an infinitely complex geometry, only constructed from a single right triangle. Here, the pinwheel is transformed to meet the movement requirements, resulting in a new pattern composed of 4 different triangles, which is then folded and transposed to the third dimension.
This peculiar geometric construction suggests that the work is only a part of a much wider whole, a finite element extracted from an infinite system.
The sound composition and the movements are closely linked together : the speed and acceleration of each motors are used as datas to process and diffuse the sound in real-time.
The geometrical properties of the triangles define the 4 different phases of the composition, while the structure inside each theme follows the dimensions and symmetries of each triangle type.
Tessel is a collaboration between French composer and artist David Letellier, and LAb[au], Belgian electronic arts studio. Tessel is a co-production of the galleries MediaRuimte (Brussels) and Roger Tator (Lyon), realised with the financial support of Arcadi, Dicream and the Commission des Arts Numériques de la Communauté Française de Belgique.