Organoscopy is an electro-accoustic video- and laser-based sonic exploration of a concert hall organ. Performed by Nils Henrik Asheim, Birk Nygaard, Tijs Ham and Gisle Martens Meyer, at Organ Night, Stavanger Concert Hall, March 24th 2017.
The work uses thousands of micro-samples from the concert hall organ to create a swarmy, life-like sonic instrumental presence that can react and respond to a multitude of inputs and manipulators. These swarmy, reactive instruments can also output their MIDI data for further manipulation of video and lasers. For the performance, the organ itself was connected as one of the main controlling entities, in effect having the organ and the organist manipulating “enhanced” versions of themselves.
The performance starts with a lone organist launching into a dramatic Shostakovich opening, which slowly disintegrates into glithcy fragments of the original. A mad science sonic explorer appears in VR glasses with a remote wireless microphone, he enters the organ, and through surveillance cameras mounted inside the organ, operated by a combination of microsounds and organ triggers, the organist and the audience can follow his process of exploring the organ on a huge transparent screen.
The explorer comes out, and without words, but in sync with the video artist reveals to us microscopic sonic events of organ inside operations. These operations are syncronized with close-up video of the organ internals. The exposition of organ microsounds builds towards a crescendo. Lasers controlled by the organ registers are mapped to each pipe, and microphones on these lasers again are used for further manipulation, creating a highly electronic sound that combines with the pure tones of the organ and the organic, woody textural sounds of organ mechanics.
Organoscopy created by first spending a few days recording sounds and video of the organ insides, then a few weeks pre-producing the recordings to reactive live sonic, musical and visual instruments, simultaneously composing a rough structure. The performance was then created as a finished work in 24 hours as a collaboration between all the artists and the concert hall technicians.
The work was premiered at Orgelnatt, Stavanger Konserthus, March 24th 2017.