Aug 6, 2015

root sounds



at the venice biennale this year, france's pavilion features a single site-specific, time-specific work by celeste boursier-mougenot. to install rêvolutions, he's taken the glass out of the skylights over the central atrium in the french pavilion—a vestibule leading to a large atrium from which three shallow galleries branch off—and painted everything white.

three large scotch pines and their root balls had been excavated entire from the ground and brought to the biennale, still embedded in earth. two flank the entrance to the pavilion; the third, in the atrium, has been fitted with a low-gear motor and moves, triggered by sap flow sensors, slowly and erratically around the space.



the galleries are dim, lit only by reflected light from the central atrium, and have been fitted with silicone foam stadium seating on which one may recline and watch the tree in the atrium on its perambulations while listening to the sound of the pavilion. voltmeters buried around the pavilion measure the voltage differential between the roots of certain trees and the surrounding soil; the pavilion's soundtrack is a real-time signal-processing transformation of that differential. somber, serene, and enveloping, this deep and continuous tone fills the entire space gently but completely.

a transcendent experience to lie in the half light, listening to root sounds.

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