Aureole

2009

2nd Thessaloniki Biennale, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (GR)

BETTINA SCHÜLKE, NINA CZEGLEDY, VERONIKI KORAKIDOU, DAVE LAWRENCE
audio-visual interactive installation

Aureole aims to evoke a “mystic” interactive experience inspired by the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The Auroras (Borealis in the North and Australis in the South) are enigmatic natural phenomena produced by electrically charged sub-atomic particles emitted by the sun and sent soaring into the ionosphere by solar winds. The streaming particles are captured by the earth’s magnetic field and as they cascade down into the atmosphere they collide with gas molecules to produce the emission of radiation that glows in various colors. Virtually every circumpolar myth contains references to the Auroras dating back hundreds if not thousands of years. Sámi people of Lapland believed that the Northern Lights are spirits of the dead and were afraid of them. There is a debate whether the Aurora Borealis produce sounds, and although there are about 300 documented reports of aurora sound there is still a need for scientific and practical proof. In general the sounds reported are subtle, and often have been captured via VLF (very low frequency) recordings, plus some examples by recording with special microphone systems. Still many scientists consider the sounds inaudible to the human ear.

Aureole is a real – time audio-visual installation, animated by its. While the Aurora is a natural phenomenon outside the scope of human control, this installation is animated by its visitors’ desire to move around it and “touch the light” and thus inverts this main characteristic. On entering the space, nothing is visible in the dimmed light; the spectacle of the moving lights on the cylinder is initiated only through the physical movement of the viewer/visitor. The installation soundscape has been composed with three main conceptual thoughts in mind – to reflect the beautiful poetic and mystical nature of the aurora, to refer to real tangible sounds captured during aurora borealis happenings, and to explore sonic connections with the visual and physical experience in the installation.