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Fireflies
Fireflies Anton Roca (2022)

Lucciole (Italian) — Lucioles (French) — Cuques de llum (Catalan — my mother tongue)

“[…] as soon as I arrived in the small Italian commune of San Romano, I built my studio and the art centre Rad’Art. I took great care of the land next to the building. With time, the fireflies started to return. Every spring for the last five years, erratic lights glimmer in constellations over the surrounding hills. Lucciole echoes the collective imagination and celebrates the survival, albeit precarious, of the insect.”

Anton Roca has created a framework of videos of the dance of the fireflies in San Romano and thus pay tribute to nature’s ability to regenerate. He has produced an archive of millions of luminous flickers. He will then bring these moving images to Avatar, in Quebec City, where he will give a performance on a MIDIfied grand piano on May 6. The luminous impulses will be converted into sound impulses, like chrysalises hatching in planetary space. This firefly concert played on Avatar’s Disklavier will be broadcast live simultaneously in Cesena (Italy), the place where the artist lives, in Quebec City (Canada), the city where he developed the project and part of his art career, and lastly, to close the circle, in Alcover (Catalonia), the place symbolizing the fireflies of his childhood.

The Score

To realize this project, the moving glimmers of fireflies were recorded by video cameras in the San Romano landscape. These videos will compose the score, which, therefore, will be written by the fireflies. During a residency at Avatar, a software program was developed specifically for the project. The program analyzes the flickering of the fireflies. Each luminous impulse marks a point, and like music notes on a score, each point corresponds to a sound and value. Point by point on the score, the duration of the light’s appearance, its dimension, its position in space, its progression in the camera lens will be replaced by notes on the MIDIfied piano. In accordance with the principles of Euclidean space, wherein “every point in three-dimensional space is determined by three coordinates: x, y, and z”—well known as width, depth, and height—the fireflies will control the Disklavier. Thus the software will translate luminous movements into sonic flights.

At Avatar, Quebec (Canada) / Installation art From 6:30 pm to 9 pm

In Italy and Spain / performance

From 10 pm to midnight at Convent de les Arts (Alcover, Spain)

From 10 pm to midnight at Teatro Bonci (Cesena, Italy)

The experience will also be offered online

The Concert

The concert is in two parts:

Part 1 – Incipit (60 min) Waiting for the performance/Entering the theatre Sixty minutes before the performance, the audience will be invited to enter the theatre and watch a video of the San Romano mountains at dusk. The sunlight will gradually fade to darkness. The video will be projected simultaneously in all the project’s venues (Quebec City, Cesena, and Alcover), providing a poetical context for the moment when sparks of fireflies appear in the landscape for the first time in the day.

Part 2 – Performance (variable duration) Once the video projects the twilight descending over San Romano’s valleys, the performance will start, making the fireflies delicately appear onscreen. I will carefully select the videos that the software will read and transform into notes on the MIDIfied grand piano at Avatar, in Quebec City. At the same time, in Cesena and Alcover, the audience will also see fireflies appear in the video, which may occasionally be punctuated by detail shots of my presence onstage and the Disklavier. The audience will be able to take in the sound composition of fireflies played live by the Disklavier.

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Produced and presented by Avatar and Rad’Art

Video shooting of the fireflies: Bruno Donati

Software development: Patrice Coulombe

Partners in Italiy: Comune di Cesena, Assessorato alla Cultura Teatro Alessandro Bonci, Cesena Comune di Mercato Saraceno, Assessorato alla Cultura / Partners in Catalonia: Ajuntament d’Alcover Convent de les Arts - Parlem Contemporani

Lucioles, Anton Roca
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