CAMILLE NORMENT, "RAPTURE"
site-specific installation at Biennale di Venice, 2015 (All the Worlds Future)
Inside the pavilion, large boom microphones extend like projectiles from the ceiling, each emitting the sound of a single female voice whose articulated breathing exhales into one of two notes from a tritone interval – a chord once banned by the medieval church as the so-called ‘devil’s chord’ because of its unsettling sound.
“Rapture” is one of my favourite installations, ever. Its sculptural, minimalistic, sonic enviroment treats the pavilion itself as a whole and you accidentally find yourself in the middle of all that intangible sounds and views, so peaceful yet disturbing. Vast glass windows, broken. White and innocent. Embraced by the sound of glass armonica.*
*The glass armonica was adored during the Enlightenment period for its ‘angelic’ sound and its believed ability to heal and hypnotize. It was soon outlawed for fear of the power of its sound over the body and the belief that its stimulation could cause illness, social deviation, or sexual transgression in women. Made more explicit through the performances, there is also a reference to Jimi Hendrix who described his ecstatic use of guitar feedback as describing the sound of a body in pain. These elements reference social metaphors such as 'glass ceiling' and the etymological history of the word window - 'eye of the wind,' to relate excitation to social change.