Thursday, 8 January 2009

"Music is frozen architecture", Goethe

The Philips Pavillon, Brussels, Expo 1958.

Philips approached Le Corbusier who replied:
"I will not make a pavilion for you but an Electronic Poem and a vessel containing the poem; light, color image, rhythm and sound joined together in an organic synthesis."

At initial meetings, Le Corbusier gave a rough outline of the look and function of the event.

* The interior was to be shaped in a manner similar to the stomach of a cow, with the concept that audience members would enter in groups of 500 at ten-minute intervals.
* For two minutes, as the audience filed in through a curved passageway, they would hear a short transition piece. Then the room would go into darkness, and spectators, who remained standing, would then be subject to the interior music and lights for eight minutes.
* Colored lights, images, and film would be shown all around them. Music (organized sound) would be played over a huge array of speakers, surrounding and traversing the audience. At the close of the eight-minute piece, the spectators would exit, "digested," through another exit while the next group filed in.
* In this way, 20,000 visitors a day would be able to visit the pavilion over the five months of the fair. The project was to be managed by Le Corbusier's protege designer Iannis Xenakis, who would also create the transition music.
* Le Corbusier would provide the images to be projected during a 480 second multi-media event.
* No attempt would be made to synchronize the visuals with the music. Any correspondences that did occur would happy accidents, except for a specified moment of silence six minutes into the work.

More here.

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