Oliver Beer FIAC 2019: New Performance
Palais De La Découverte
Avenue Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Oliver Beer’s new performance for the FIAC and the Palais de la Découverte works with radio waves and Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP). Also known as “stray voices”, EVP are unclear and unknown vocal sounds that occur in-between radio frequencies and permeate empty space. These vocal radio phenomena have been used by spiritualists – and even early scientists such as Thomas Edison – to try to contact voices from the afterlife.
Building on his work with acoustic resonance, Beer turns to resonance in radio waves to transform the strings of an upturned grand piano and a 19th Century bronze sculpture of Giambologna’s famous Mercury, the messenger of the gods, into functioning radio antennae. Like any metal object, the bronze limbs of Mercury and the copper piano strings can be used to pick up hidden radio waves; their form and dimensions determining the wave frequencies heard.
Activated live in the Palais de la Découverte, these antennae reveal the ‘stray voices’ reverberating within the historic dome. Beer will collaborate with Lebanese electro-indie band Mashrou’ Leila alongside sopranos Michiko Takahashi and Marie Picault to weave together a composition working with these fugitive sounds. In the composition, these 'Stray Voices' evoke the scientists, artists and musicians across history who have been marginalised and obscured, their voices left unheard.