German sound artist and musician Nicola L. Hein has collaborated with Swiss media artist Lucas Truniger to present Membranes. The show is a live performance that combines sculptural instruments, rhythmic pulses, text and mirrors.
The stage is in complete darkness when the artists enter. They stand at either end of the performance space and the show begins. In the centre of the stage the audience can barely see a variety of sculptures. These are a combination of drum skins, electronic components, visual monitors and mirrors. A trilling, throbbing sound beings and the monitors light up. Here we see some bright text that flows across the screens. The text is reflected in the adjacent mirrors and the audience is invited to read the text as it moves at a fast pace. In total there are seven sculptures on the stage. Each is choreographed into the performance at different times. As the show progresses the text on the screen becomes more erratic and the sound more pulasting.
Membranes is a sensory overload. At times the text is so bright and intense within the black box environment it is overbearing. In turn the music and sound pulsates and throbs at a high volume. The effect is disarming and grabs the attention of the audience. During the conclusion the text slows to a pace that can be easily read. The monitors start to converse with the audience and this presents a funny and satisfying conclusion to this original and subversive performance.
Membranes will have a new life as an art installation on Saturday 4 November at the Tramway arts venue, however viewing the show as a live performance may well be the best way to experience the original and engaging nature of the work. The Sonica Festival continues in a variety of venues around Glasgow until Sunday 6 November. The festival promotes engaging and innovative ways to present music and visual art and Membranes definitely meets this criteria.