Following a residency at Avatar in the spring of 2022, Marc Vilanova presents the prototype of an installation project using fiber optics and non-audible frequencies. Back in Quebec City, Vilanova offers us a finished work for the Mois Multi festival with Cascade.
Waterfalls are the only continuous natural source of infrasound on our planet. Large waterfalls create powerful infrasound frequencies that can travel up to 400 km from the source.
Recent studies show how these frequencies are used for avian navigation. Some birds have an exceptional ability to detect infrasound, which become their sensory basis for long-distance migrations. In recent years, navigation failures have been detected due to anthropogenic noise from industrial and urban sources of infrasound frequencies – nature could not get through.
In Cascade, infrasound recordings from large waterfalls will activate 150 speakers; each will transmit the imperceptible frequency into a luminescent optical fiber. The sound waves will resonate in the fiber strings, producing a luminous visual feedback.
Presented for the first time at this year’s Mois Multi, the immersive installation will utilize the architecture of the chosen venue, creating a curtain of sound waves adaptable to the needs of the room. The audience is invited to walk through the lightfall, touch and feel the vibration of the material, and become part of the artwork.
Cascade is co-produced by Avatar. This work was realised in part within the framework from the European Media Art Platform residency program at Gnration with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union and the Fundació Ramon Llull.
February 1- 19, 2023
Opening : February 1st, 7 pm – vernissage
100 Quai Saint-André
Québec, QC G1K 3Y2
“The project began during a creative residency at the Méduse cooperative in Quebec City, where I was hosted by Avatar, an artist-run center for audio and electronic art.
It was while researching on natural infrasound sources that I came up with Cascade. During the month and a half spent in Quebec City, we went to record and measure the infrasound produced by the Montmorency Falls, one of the highest waterfalls in Canada.
With Avatar’s equipment, we measured the infrasound frequencies of the waterfall. Then, in the Avatar studios, in collaboration with technicians Nathalie LeBlanc and Guillaume Côté, we worked on the design of a small prototype. On this one, we only used 3 speakers/fiber optics to give an idea of what the piece would be like once it was finished.
To further develop the project, I would like to follow the migratory route of a bird that uses these frequencies to navigate, and record the infrasound of the waterfalls it encounters on its way. The final piece will be composed from this material, creating a sequence that will play with sound/movement, digitally controlling the volume of each speaker, and with light, attenuating each laser attached to the optical fiber.” – Marc Vilanova
Marc Vilanova – Avatar residency, 2022 (Québec city Chute Montmorency), credit : Félix Tremblay
Marc Vilanova (1991) is a sound and visual artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology. Vilanova’s artistic production has always been led by a spirit of innovation fueled by an interest in new media. Merging research and artistic practices onto projects in which concepts such audio visuality, automation, machine self-expression, AI and superintelligence and the socio- political implications regarding society’s relationship with technology are explored.
Currently, he creates audiovisual installations while also working with performance and interdisciplinary collaborations with dance, theatre, and moving images. His pieces have been presented in festivals around the world in Japan, the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Iran, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia and many countries in Europe.