Cristalloésie

Installation

This installation offers the opportunity to visualise and influence the musicality, energy, and phonic substance of our poetic performances. The two installations (Cristalloésie and Poetry Hero, which follows) offer instant feedback of the rhythms and attitudes breathed into speech, through visual instantiation of vocal movements. An interdisciplinary project bringing artists and researchers together, it illustrates the innovative synergies Digital Humanities enable.

Background

Cristalloésie highlights the importance of staging the voice and its inherent poetry. The vocal performances’ range, timbre, and prosody feed crystals that grow, spread, and adopt significant colour. We are reminded that – far from being limited to its phonic substance – the sound poetry of the 1950s attaches great importance to both the visual dimension and the stage alike. Indeed, the poem finds its completion on the latter, at the very moment it is performed. As of 1963, in fact, pioneer of sound poetry in France, Bernard Heidsieck, would in fact ultimately prefer to speak of “Poésie action” (‘action poetry’):

“Ce que je cherche toujours, c'est d'offrir la possibilité à l'auditeur/spectateur de trouver un point de focalisation et de fixation visuelle. [...] Je propose toujours un minimum d'action pour que le texte se présente comme une chose vivante et immédiate et prenne une texture quasiment physique. Il ne s'agit donc pas de lecture à proprement parler, mais de donner à voir le texte entendu.” — Bernard Heidsieck

Cristalloésie pays tribute to the trend of action poetry by perpetuating it through a contemporary device, inviting participants to mobilise the statistical minerality of the descriptors in vocal performance so as to shape generative works of art.

Concept and realization:
Loïc Cattani, UNIL
Mélanie Lancien, UNIL 
Isaac Pante, UNIL

Programme development:
Loïc Cattani, UNIL
Isaac Pante, UNIL

Phonetic analysis:
Mélanie Lancien, UNIL