MUTEK 2023 | Satosphère 2 : UNION — Nancy Lee & Kiran Bhumber

par Alain Brunet

Photo credit: Ash KG

Here’s a summary of this 25-minute work, part of the Satosphère program on August 23 at MUTEK: “UNION is an immersive narrative that tells the story of two beings discovering their ancestral memories through the desire for touch and the rituals practiced during their post-apocalyptic wedding ceremony.”

Nancy Lee and Kiran Bhumber have imagined their story as an artistic illustration of their diasporic identities. Their aim is to “unveil and reconstitute cultural memory through the sacred ritual of spiritual union and physical intimacy”. In other words, this spiritual union cannot function smoothly if the strains of its actors are not identified, understood and integrated.

The immersion proposed here is based on abstract images projected onto a dome: shimmering colors mingle on the concave screen, giant hands whirl around, suspended humanoid busts, deposits of gems, two flesh-and-blood women sketching short choreographies, an evocation of post-apocalyptic marriage.

In terms of sound, the soundtrack includes a brief narration of this fictional story and offers the ear a series of electronic effects typical of this type of immersion: synthesized percussion, industrial sounds, and electroacoustic processes generally familiar to dome immersion enthusiasts. The sound quality is also exemplary.

In short, the abstraction of this work outweighs its background, the aesthetic coherence of this work needs to be perfected, the integration of forms and sounds testifies to an art that is still exploratory and above all interesting for its fragmentary effects and not for their integration into an integrated whole.

This is a recurring problem with immersive works that include sound and images: a fascination with these new creative tools rarely leads to an integrated aesthetic, and we contemplate their technological advances without being marked by a total work.

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