'Playing' the nave

The visitor entering the Hôtel-Dieu nave is at once grasped by the beauty of the place, by its calming light, but also by its acoustics, its resonance, long, clear and hardly blurred; it is possible to talk to someone else very distinctly from a distance. This acoustic footprint, also calming, grasped me when I first visited the place. The sound signature of the building remains the first memory I keep about it. My first reaction therefore was the organist's one as I used to play this instrument a long time ago: how could I 'play' the Hôtel-Dieu nave? The commission of this sound installation put me in the situation of an organ specialist dreaming of a new instrument for the place, by imagining its registers: which instrument could I design for the 'nave'?

I made my decision, the installation would not only be played in the place; it would pose a challenge to the place; by its physical properties, sound would reveal the nave, and its frequencies would examine the proportions of the architecture. In a way, the purpose is to understand this space by listening to it, to stride across it to hear it and discover it. The dialog of music and listening that usually happens during concerts finds a new form in the architecture of the nave. It is a kind of mirror held out to all visitors, a call for listening, thinking, returning to oneself while projecting to the whole space.

I invite you to an active immersion in sound and in that wonderful place. There are many relationships with the immersion into coloured fields that proposes Caroline Coppey in her exhibition Résonance de la couleur presented at the same time at the Pharmacie.

Alain Bonardi

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