Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day17-18: more work, food, long heads and music

So there is no excuse of being with kids; I am lagging behind of the blog again :) Yesterday more recording of gesture/sound/video data, more conversation with the team at IRCAM. Got the violin from Nicolas, my 'violin' team member of IRCAM who is lending it to me to install K-Bow system. I brought it back to clean since we are calling it a "tortured violin"; it looks like it has seen a lot and being through a lot. Poor thing.

This morning more recording, more data transfer--BTW I'm doing my recordings in my studios then use to transfer the data to IRCAM 5 minutes walk away. It takes 15 minutes to upload! Now the Agora festival is over I might be getting a studio where I can play in IRCAM so that I can do file transfer within the building fast, or run up the stairs to give them the memory stick in person :) Since the team needs a little time to analyze the data I have been bombarding with, I went to a nice lunch with husband, to Mon Viel Ami, par recommendation of a friend, composer Eric Chasalow of Brandies Univ.

We caught the ending of their "today's lunch", poulet confite au sumac et à la menthe (chicken confit with "sumac" and mint) for two, Rhubarbe pochée, crumble et sorbet menthe (pouched Rhubarb with biscuit crumble and mint sorbet) for husband and Vacherin glacé vanille-fraise (meringue cookie with vanilla and strawberry ice cream) for me. 21 Euro each and was totally worth it. Besides I don't get to go to French restaurants in New York, since husband insists that we should rather buy a plane ticket to Paris than pay NYC French restaurant prices. So there.

Then I decided to do a tourist thing and accompanied husband who wanted to go to Musée National du Moyen Age, or "Musée Cluny Paris" which I can get in for free with the Cités des Arts card. What a place. I did get a little tired for this enormous place filled with Virgin Mary and all over and over again, but always am in awe of our human history. This is a collection of sculpture they had called "La Galerie des Rois" (kings heads) which used to be in front of Notre Dame but was only found in 1977. They are vandalized by the revolution missing noses etc, but the guide note explained that they were sculpted with exaggerated length of the heads, which they took in account that they are to be seen from below. I took a picture looking up, and on the same level. Indeed, from the first shot the artists' intentions are clear to establish a visual illusion.

Husband was astonished that this is the most impressive thing I thought about this museum, not the world famous "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestry that it is known for. Well maybe I was too tired of walking and the religious themes by the time I got to the Unicorn.

After we recovered with a Panache for me and espresso for him, we went to a children's concert at beautiful high school, Lycée Henri IV organized by IRCAM's Fabrice Guédy who also is a very important person and an asset for me in thinking about gesture, since he specializes in conducting gesture, which is quite close to string gesture in my opinion, at IRCAM. Husband who went to Lycée Louis Le Grand , kept saying, "wow I wished I'd come here, it's beautiful!". BTW he gave me what he went through in this very rigorous French public highschool. This page is in French but at the bottom there is a list of weekly studies. 12 hours of math a week!

The French children's concert program was very French understandably, with tons of Debussy and Ravel, and Rameau. I have to say that French kids get to perform in churches made of stones like these, getting used to the rich acoustics and the hearing of music in a particular way. These pieces were made to be played in places like this, by the people who grew up in these buildings. Now I understand it. On the other hand, these pieces are missing quite a bit of rhythmic elements, but in turn filled with beautiful harmony enhanced by the acoustics. I wondered if they could also learn salsa or rumba, maybe outside with no reverb :) The picture is a beautiful example of kids hanging colored papers reflecting the timber, while Fabrice performed a Olivier Messiaen piece.

Fabrice also used the motion sensor to accompany a student's piano with a virtual orchestra, and my IRCAM team, Norbert, Nicolas and Frédéric assisted on an interesting experiment performing Bach with motion sensor-embedded ball, thrown by the kids. They have to throw the ball in tempo in order to play the music accurately. It has a nice potential to be a teaching tool I thought.

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