Speculum Musurgica © Bob Van Mol
At the base of Speculum Musurgica (2015) are two seven-voice compositions from Petrus Alamire’s sixteenth century music manuscripts: the motet Memorare Mater Christi of Matthaeus Pipelare, and the anonymous chanson Proch Dolor, an elegy on the death of Emperor Maximilian, performed by Paul Van Nevel and the Huelgas Ensemble.
The heptagonal media installation Speculum Musurgica consists of ingenious mirror structures and sound projections that invite visitors to take a physical walk through the rich polyphonic texture of the music.
In a spatialized setting, each of the seven singers is projected individually, for both sound and vision. In the centre of the installation the multiple auditory layers coalesce into a surround sound. On the other hand a more analytic listening mode is possible by physically approaching one of the performers. For the visual layers the technique of cylindrical anamorphosis is used: a distorted image can be observed in its reconstituted form through reflection in a cylindrical mirror. Observing one single anamorphosis brings the visitor closer to the projected image (and sound) of one individual musical performer and amplifies the analytical listening mode. The multiple use of anamorphosis however forces the visitor to make choices and invites him or her to spatially and physically explore and experience the polyphonic texture of the music.
In this multi-layered universe, visitors choose for themselves which individual musical lines to emphasize. They go in search of interesting perspectives – whether auditory, visual or a combination of both – and create their own individual experience of the polyphonic music performed.