MEM-NON | The Great Mormon Temple

Interactive installation
polyurethane foam modules, customised zippers, printed satin,
talking buttons, microphones, MAX MSP, website, Soundcloud
Year: 2014

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Visitors performing inside the installation (on field audio recording)


MEM-NON is an interactive visual soundscape installation commissioned by the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Bucharest in 2014. Combining principles of chromatic mimicry found in nature with synesthesia, The installation is conceived as a sensorial experience for the public, which is invited to discover through sound and colour the shape of a hidden butterfly (Papilio Memnon – a polymorphic butterfly with mimicry characteristics).

Around 700 connected modular pillows (20 x 20 cm) made of polyurethane foam and satin, create a temple-like environment with the shape of a gynandromorphic butterfly on its surface. The chromatic pattern on the walls forms a soundscape that can be activated by the public through interactive musical devices, hidden inside the pillows. The soundscape is based on an algorithm created especially for the installation that correlates sounds to colours.  

Every pillow that forms the butterfly has a unique sound related to its colours and pattern. The public can press the pillows to hear their sounds. This way, following the visual or audio pattern, one can live a complex emotional experience. All the sounds are recorded in real time and uploaded on SoundCloud. 

From here, all the audio tracks are archived in the SOUND section of the official website during the exhibition, where the visitors can listen and share them on social networks. The visitors who sign up with their email address before entering the installation, receive an email containing their audio experience.

The installation is a sort of synesthetic instrument to be played by maximum three performers simultaneously. It contains preset sound compositions (arranged for gamelan) that can be activated randomly in order to obtain every time a different performing outcome. 

The experience inside the installation, during one's performance, is continued due to the live recording of all the triggered sounds. The installation combines the physical dimension of the art experience with the social media principles of sharing and preserving the experience in a more virtual way.