The Optical Sound Orchestra, composing with projectors


Combining the choreographic seduction of analogue machines, with the reassessing of a different function, “The Optical Sound Orchestra” by Mariska de Groot – who has long been fascinated by the possibilities of sound – is an exemplary performative media act, expressing a media archaeology attitude. She has conceived an orchestra of twelve 16mm projectors, each of which plays its own mechanical sounds, which have been previously recorded, and are operated by six conducted projectionists. De Groot says that in her work “the machine listens to itself” and the projectionists/musicians then have the task of exposing the sounds and turning them into a composition, rendering them as a specific self-reflective acoustic environment. Here the concept of ‘expanded cinema’ is extended towards the cinematic aural, using the same instruments that the historical movement employed, but stretching their limits. Similarly, the projectors are possibly playing their most intimate soundtrack ever, still working in their own ideal state.


Mariska de Groot – The Optical Sound Orchestra