…dessiner sur papier…

Thorsten Streichardt's installation at Nuits Blanches Paris, Ircam 2013 - Olivier Pasquet




The Nuits Blanches Paris is a yearly event. It is the occasion for everybody to discover art pieces showed in the entire city for the entire night. Thorsten Streichardt presented a work which is at the same time a performance and a pure visual piece. Graffiti are drawn overnight onto a paper moebius strip sustained by a tall metallic structure. Paradoxically, the performer can therefore always draw on the same side. Visitors are outside and he is the only one who can go inside and constantly improvises by turning around. Each hand is equipped with two pencils on which are attached contact microphones. They are used for amplifying and delaying scratchy sounds from the paper ring. Those sounds are diffused and spatialized using twelve tiny mounted speakers.

Incoming sounds are replayed with noise gates controlling their incoming flux and thus making poly-rhythmic phrases. The performer can always erase the memory by hitting the two pencils together. Rhythms are directly generated by the opening and closing of gates but they are a real composition and improvisation. Any kind of sound and scratching ones from paper are part of the music so choices are to be made beyond those incoming timbres. The composition is therefore thought as a structural composition.

The performance is more than a social piece because visitors are also invited to record themselves using extra microphones in the hall and entrance of the exhibition space [1]. This limited interaction with the audience brings a magic part which is perfect for the visitors of Nuits Blanches who are mostly novices visiting the space; the exchange is strong and very interesting. The kind of people is very heterogeneous. It also depends on the time of the night. People always stay quiet but they are more careful at the beginning of the evening and they get more dreamy at the end. They are approaching the paper as if they would try to read some text although it was sound. The drawing then finds its rhythm in harmony and dissonance with this audience. The process comes to an end when it compresses here and there, how compacted the drawing on the paper.


Tiny speakers on written paper
thorsten streichardt writing with tiny speaker on paper

Further reading (not citations):

[1] Unknown bibtex entry with key [Cage:1969vi]