For the past nine years, Claire Renard has been creating musical/visual installations that investigate the relationships between listening/hearing and urban space, or what she calls “sound identities.” Her four-part work “La Musique des Memoires” (The Music of Memory) (2000-2002) took place in four cities: Lisbon, Helsinki, Athens, and Saint-Nazaire. In each location Renard, working with Finnish designer Eva Vesmanen (www.puredesign.fi), created a dream-like site-specific installation that, through a kind of “sonic diary,” addressed the cultural memory of the city and its people. Renard’s intention in this and other works was to help visitors to her installation – and to a city – rediscover what she views as a lost connection with the sense of hearing. Renard abandoned her earlier work in composition for sonic installations in 1996 when she was writing a chamber opera exploring the importance of voice in the development of one’s character. This led her to think about how much we are influenced by sounds stored away in our memories.
Continuing in this theme of sound, hearing, and memory, at Montalvo Renard worked on the composition for her latest project, Chambre du Temps (Time Chamber), a work in progress on which she is once again collaborating with Vesmanen.
In this piece, intended to be installed in the midst of a busy urban center, visitors will be invited to experience a suspended moment in time in which they are made aware of the slow sounds of movement and change, altering ever so slightly the visitor’s gaze and way of listening, and making space heard. Renard and Vesmanen created a virtual mock-up of this piece which was displayed at the Grande Halle de la Vilette in Paris in June 2004. The finished work will be exhibited by the Centre National de Création Musicale ’s Biennale Musiques en Scène (www.grame.fr), taking place in Lyon, France, in March 2006, in conjunction with the Lyon Museum of Modern Art.