Echo Chamber
performance, 2020

An audiovisual performance in several tableaus, that takes its inspiration from technologies that let us probe inside the body, such as ultrasound and acupuncture, generating a sound composition in which the idea of resonance predominates. In creating a modular interface of three panels allowing multiple manipulations, Messier has determined the boundaries of the possibilities for the performance of a choreography of sound and light. He wields long needles as if they were notes from an instrument, piercing through an audio-reactive plate that sets off sound sequences. Like the ultrasound needle palpating the body to reveal what might be in its interior – a living yet invisible presence? – Messier’s performative gestures are the sources of images in which the body eventually appears, magnified as a transported shadow. The Echo Chamber device is continually transformed during the performance: by a series of movements and position shifts, an entire scenography unfolds before our eyes. The panels increase in number; the light sources appear, disappear, multiply, and mutate. Cut-outs of light cause visual elements to materialize in response to the sound echoes, to the magnetic resonances of the body left in shadow, now turned into a shadow. The panels then become screens in which we see the body’s interior, where scintillating cells are in motion. Window to the interior, the function of the device is reversed: Messier takes us through to the other side, under the invisible skin. The interface-membrane becomes a passageway, a porous surface through which time is transposed and transforms the living matter. Carrier of an electric charge, the matter of the body itself is a vehicle, a vector. This is what the final sequence of EchoChamber suggests: the link between the world and the self, between the outside and the inside – remanence emanating from the echo chamber.

Martin Messier (CA)

For more than 15 years, Messier has created works in which sound meets images and objects. In the form of performances and installations – with a choreographic tone – , these works place the body front and centre. After studying composition at l’Université de Montréal, Martin began an experimental sound practice that integrated video images. He quickly developed performative audiovisual apparatuses that brought everyday objects and the sound potential of their various materials to the stage. A number of collaborative projects were carried out over the years, notably with artists Nicolas Bernier, Caroline Laurin-Beaucage, Anne Thériault, and Jacques Poulin-Denis. Martin’s latest performance project, ASHES, marks his first collaboration with French artist Yro (Élie Blanchard). Presented in some 50 counties, Martin Messier’s productions have received several prizes and nominations: a special mention at Prix Ars Electronica in 2010; listed for a Prix Opus in 2012; Best Experimental Short Film at the Lausanne Underground Film Festival in 2013; the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 2014; a special mention by the jury at the 2015 Japan Media Awards; and, in 2018, the World OMOSIROI Award in Japan. Martin is a member of Perte de Signal, an artists’ centre. In 2010, he established 14 lieux, a company dedicated to producing sound works for the stage, and has been its general and artistic director since then. He lives and works in Montreal.

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