A sensual experience that explores surivival in a complex and chaotic world.

en masse is a hypnotic blend of music, sound and film, experienced while laying on lounges in a darkened room.
 
Audiences are invited into the heart of a spherical space with dream-like images projected all around. In the midst of this evolving world, one musician plays live, her solo voice set against an electroacoustic backdrop realised by some of the world’s most respected sound artists. In the midst of this evolving world, you lie back on your chair and immerse yourself in the exquisite sights and sounds.
 
Inspired by experiences and ideas based within nature, en masse is the result of a collaboration between Australian recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and UK filmmaker Marc Silver. The work is described as part concert, part film and part installation with Silver combining strong political and philosophical views within often poetic forms. In en masse, his stunning footage of hundreds of thousands of migrating starlings, for instance, becomes a metaphor for contemporary culture.
 
Lacey and Silver describe the journey which lead to en masse:
 
"We were in the bush, by the sea, when the first germs of en masse were conceived. Experiences and ideas of nature have remained central to it. We wanted to make a world that would hold you, yet one that also gives you space. The music was born of a series of improvisations, caught one day in a studio. Six sound artists responded to these sounds, creating enough material for a lifetime’s worth of pieces. Lawrence (sound artist Lawrence English) and I (Lacey) remixed a work from this vast sound catalogue: the electroacoustic track that plays in duo with the footage.
 
The sounds that you hear are new. They come originally from simple wooden pipes. When I play live with these computer-altered sounds, you hear both the transformation and the source. My voice is a way of making the electroacoustic world human again.
 
When I make music, I feel as though I enter another element. I close my eyes, listen, breathe and play and find myself in a world that is not the same as my daily reality. There is something particularly beautiful about this experience of diving into sound, following its tides. I wanted you to have the chance to access this intensely heightened, tranquil state, to feel wrapped in sound and movement."
 
"I (Marc) wanted to create something that alludes to the themes of my past work (the impact of globalisation, individualism, consumerism), without overtly dealing with them. I was also considering how people find peace in a world of apparent chaos. Without answering this specifically, the behaviour of the birds hints at solutions.
 
The shots have been held for a long time to allow you to lose yourself in the image. It’s the antithesis of editing for TV and film, where the cuts tell the story. The lack of cuts in this piece redefines the relationship between the viewer and the image allowing, I think, for much more reflection. The images were shot over a period of two weeks, at sunrise and sunset, in two different locations. A lot of time has gone into grading the footage so it looks and feels as one, so that it flows.
 
The space itself is as important as the sound and image. We wanted it to be comfortable rather than rigid, we wanted it to be at odds with the world outside. The piece is the space, the sound, the image, all the collaborators and you, working en masse."** source: http://genevievelacey.com/cms/projects/en_masse/
 

en masse is a new Australian work produced by Arts House and was commissioned by the Adelaide Festival, Melbourne Festival and Sydney Festival under the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc. Developed in the CultureLAB. It can be seen at Arts House North Melbourne in October 2010.

 

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