Musica Mobile 1
Visual arts

2 min

Musica mobile 1: Septième ciel by Pierre-Alain Jaffrennou

Part installation, part sensory experience, Musica Mobile reinvents spatial sound design, allowing its composer Pierre-Alain Jaffrennou to put his research at the intersection of music and computer science into practice.

© Nicola Rodet

Musical Science

Since the 60s, Pierre-Alain Jaffrennou has focused on scientific sound research. In 1981 he co-founded GRAM with composer Jean Giroudon, a digital musical research laboratory which he ran for 4 years. All his productions, from classical pieces — like The opera Jumelles ("Opera Glasses") in 1989 — to major productions — The Flying Man (“L'Homme qui vole”) Faust d'Or winner at the Toulouse festival in 1991 — present varied interpretations of spatial sound design. The Musica Mobile installation (2001) is part of this body of work.


Sound in motion

Musica Mobile 1: Septième ciel is a musical and visual installation that offers a unique approach to and understanding of space and time.  Powered by eight speakers, frenetic sounds evolve continuously, broadcast in the midst of unstable images moving to their own internal rhythm. Immersed in this room full of anarchic virtual soundscapes and microtonal pianos, the spectator experiences a disconcerting sensory experience that awakens the imagination.


Producing the unpredictable

Musica Mobile 1: Septième ciel is part of a larger work which includes two other movements: TesKnockOut (2001) and Souffler Jouer (2006). For this installation inspired by the research and creations of Pierre Schaeffer, a pioneer of electroacoustic music, Pierre-Alain Jaffrennou composed his music using the Common Lisp Compositional Environment (CLCE), a programme that makes it possible to calculate changes to a score in real time and produce an unpredictable sound structure.


Aesthetic and technological innovation

Created for the Fribourg Festival, Musica Mobile 1: Septième ciel immediately had an international impact. Pierre-Alain Jaffrennou's work, which combines sound innovation and revolutionary technical solutions, has earned him his reputation as a composer: his inventions, such as the SINFONIE sound spatialisation device (1985 Puce d'Or winner) or the Midishare software, used at IRCAM and Sony development centres, are internationally recognized.

The Institut français and the project

The exhibition “Musica Mobile, a Poetics of Sound and Movement”, on display through 14th July 2019 at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and co-organised with Grame, is supported by the Institut français in partnership with the City of Lyon and Metropolitan Lyon.

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