live audio-visual performance

alKemiAlchemy, Alchemy, once a science of metals and a philosophy of life, is now seen as the deep drives of our unconsciousness, heritage of our archaic culture and common past. Transforming silhouettes suggest the deep changes that our souls can undergo through the alchemical mutation. Hot fusions and frozen cascades materialize the chemical processes that once occurred in the forges, and now take place in our unconscious... Inside us, another logic takes place. It is expressed by repeating rituals, while intertwined streams of dreams and voices burst in a strict, yet non-transparent, order. Just to remind us how strongly we are connected to these transformations and how much they can impact our lives.

The graphical performance is a live video of evolving patterns (based on cellular automata), flowing pixels, and manual drawing on a tablet. The resulting scenes of an unprecedented aesthetics offer an new vision of postmodern digital media which combines hypnotic electronic effects with sensitive and expressive hand drawing. Four scenes illustrate the deep mutations that alchemy can make us experience: an abyssal fall into our deep unconscious, the gathering with our ancestors who perform a Danse Macabre (Dance of Death), the transmutation of our souls through the encounter of an ambivalent mermaid, and last, in a reverse cosmogony, we reach a pacified and aerial new form of life.

The musical performance is based on loops and rhythms. Like repeating breath and heartbeats they sustain the composition and become a driving force for the trance. The musical and sound piece is built on emotional and expressive voice and cello performance. Inspired from the alchemical transformation, it traverses the four stages of a crisis: chock, reaction, process, and new orientation. The rhythm is made by concrete sounds from a forge, from machines, from nature forces, while the singing and the augmented cello perform repetitive songs with inspiration taken from ritual tribal chants and old working songs. The lyrics are in English and Danish.

New machines were developed for audio and graphics (the Porphyrograph) to perform alKemi.

live audio-visual performance — duration 35'
sound: Supercollider / graphics: Porphyrograph
downloadable video — duration 3'05: alKemi trailer
presentation: alKemi presentation

Audio samples taken from alKemi live performance. The samples are small parts of a longer piece.
Please listen with good loudspeakers or earphones to get all the details and a good, warm cello sound!

alKemi Trailer soundtrack

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feminine paths

Carl Jung & Alchemy in C. Jung Resources
Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition (Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung) in Cerenity Now
Cellular Automata in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy