Impulse is a suspended work of five juxtaposed parts. Each part is made up of two metal panels linked to each other by eight wires that light up in a computerized sound and light program.
In this project, Martin Messier proposes a poetic analogy with a technological twist to the functioning of the brain, in the form of the circulation of energy rendered visible by the paths of light travelling between one panel and the other.
Keeping to the cerebral metaphor, the luminous influx spreads through the metallic structure, producing captive energy. The wires linking the panels act as the axons and the space in between as the synaptic gap.
Contact between the panels is not necessary for the transmission of the influx to take place: the panels receive, encode, and transmit the light signal, one panel emitting an action potential that the other converts into a signal. This is how energy circulation works – except that, in Impulse, the lighting sequences do not occur in a steady, fluid manner and do not follow a linear path.
They act as disruptive discharges in a choreography executed by one or more of the five parts of the structure, together or separately, simultaneously or successively. The cadence of this choreography is erratic and intermittent. Sometimes, light traverses the structure in a continuous line, but often, the path is interrupted.
The luminous impulse reappears elsewhere; like a spectre, it emerges where it isn’t expected, accentuating the discontinuity. Could it have taken control of the linear form, directing it in unsought, fortuitous paths? The ruptures in the linearity of the light paths seem to generate autonomous choreographic segments, even as they take place within the overall composition.
The whole work has an electrifying effect, stimulating spectators’ sensorial systems. Not only is their vision engaged, but their hearing as well – thanks to the synchronization with sound – and, finally, their entire bodies through the effect of polysensorial propagation.
In Impulse, the influx which normally responds to a stimulus encoded by the brain becomes a stimulus in itself. It amplifies sensations in the spectators, allowing them to access the essence of the senses.
“The eerie, erratic rhythm and pulsing pattern of lights elicit an electrifying effect on the sensory systems, appealing especially to auditory and visual senses.” — Simplestylings.com, 30-06-18
« Impulse is an electrical ballet of circuitry that mimics a sound poem or dance. (...) the performance is loud and industrial, latching onto all senses of its viewers. Its circuit lines are not unlike the brain, and watching this electricity dance around the giant metal boards feels familiar yet also foreign. » — Evan Senn, Artandcakela.com, 16-08-18
« Really cool and impactful! » — Boujee Monkey.com, 2018-06-30
Artistic director, audio and visual programming Martin Messier
Technical design and fabrication Thomas Payette, Maxime Bouchard (HUB Studio)