In his installation, BOÎTE NOIRE, Martin Messier is interested in rendering in sound and movement a light beam projected into a large prism.
Seeking to define the contours of this ephemeral medium, Messier materializes the amplitude of its forms and decomposes their frequencies. Light transformed into sound becomes a double language.
In the darkened room, the audience listens to and watches the progress of this white spectre: its contractions and dilations, its curves and tracings, its appearances and disappearances.
The light beam becomes the improbable instrument for the deployment of a sound composition. Here, sound and light are one and the same element. They evolve in space in a single movement issuing from the same source.
As conveyed by the work’s title, we find ourselves in a dark, enclosed space: a box, a cube. The Black Box could be the theatre space – an empty, neutral, transformable room, or a place where travel data are entered and whose internal function remains opaque. Martin Messier raises both possibilities.
In an embedding or mise-en-abyme effect, it seems that the black box can only be understood from the inside. In the dark room, signals emit phantom information through the transparent cube. The installation deals with the very principle of the black box, whose internal workings are hidden from us.
Does this activity have a link with a certain kind of cinema? The beam transmits no more than its own light, yet it evokes a movie projection containing all the imaginary possibility of film. Invited to walk around this cube demarcated by light, spectators assume a meta-position with respect to the reified projection, a flow of light that has become an object.
“My heart pounded with each rise in pitch as I watched the line transform from a spasming cardiac monitor into a amoebic shape, the outline of Africa, and then cyclones of impending destruction. While watching something grow quickly out of control spooked me, I was thrilled with whatever just happened.” — Natalie Spanner, City paper of Pittsburgh, Pghcitypaper.com, 31-08-16
« (...) on est littéralement bluffé par la matérialisation de ses contractions amples et fluides, de ces courbes et tracés surgissant et disparaissant dans un ballet fantomatique prenant vie derrière la scène vitrée. Un spectacle hypnotisant, (...), croisant avec une accessibilité déconcertante nouvelles technologies et pratiques bricodées plus DIY/lo-fi. » — Digitalarti.com, 13-05-16
« À l’aide d’une rythmique tranchée, Martin Messier fabrique un ensemble brut composé de clusters maintenus. Il redéfinit sans cesse les frontières de la musique concrète en questionnant son auditoire sur le rapport machine-musique au travers du concept cause-conséquence. Au final, la nature sérielle de sa musique tétanise à la fois par son caractère noise et relationnel. » — Edgard Mok, 10-11
« L’immersion est totale. » — republicain-lorrain.fr, 2020-01-30
“With synchronized sound elements, which in some instances sound like static, the movement of the light beam through the fog gives the whole installation an elusive quality.” — Kurt Shaw, triblive.com, 2016-08-06
Artistic Director, Concept, Music, Photo credit Martin Messier