Robert Henke: Lumière II

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“It was a full-body experience, with piercingly bright lasers dancing on a screen and chest-vibrating sub-bass perfectly paired with the visuals.” Now Toronto

Robert Henke is a German sound artist who builds and operates machines that create sounds, shapes and structures. He is also responsible for groundbreaking techno productions under the Monolake moniker, which epitomises the ‘Berlin’ sound. In his new project and Australian premiere, Lumière II, Henke teaches lasers to dance.

Powerful lasers draw rapid successions of morphing shapes and connected points in space, precisely synched with carefully crafted sonic events to create a situation of total audiovisual synaesthesia. Perfect geometric figures are contrasted with floating organic structures, the archaic sign language of an alien culture communicating via traces of light. Massive and overwhelming at times, fragile and delicate at others.

Lumière II explores the limits of what can be done with lasers, pushing the medium to the extreme and playing with its very own properties to create previously unseen images of excessive brightness or near complete darkness, pure white or colors impossible to achieve with video, shapes and movements between boldness and complex elegance. A constantly refined piece of software written by the artist himself makes it possible to compose in a process that always links sound and vision. Sound is vision is sound, treated as one absolute unity.

Lumière II is a performance on the edge of concert and visual arts. It is the second iteration of a long term exploration of a commonly underrated medium, an ongoing work in progress with every performance representing a unique snapshot of the current state. The title Lumière simply means light in French but also refers to the pioneers of early cinema, Auguste and Louis Lumière.

The experience is ecstatic for both performer and audience. No photograph or video can approximate the sensation of being caught in this audio-visual maelstrom.

Please note, this production contains smoke, quadrophonic sound and lasers.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre and Melbourne Music Week in association with The Goethe-Institut Australia

Reviews

It was a full-body experience, with piercingly bright lasers dancing on a screen and chest-vibrating sub-bass perfectly paired with the visuals.

Venue