Luke Jaaniste is a talented and passionate sound artist and curator.His passion emerged at the end of his extraordinary 4 piece set and installation last Saturday night at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Art [Brisbane] as part of his Autumn Mesmerism series. As the last of his four composer/musicians completed his piece and left us all in a space between worlds, Luke was walking in a state of ecstasy, drifting in trance-like religious euphoria while commending the composer/performer. As we moved into the evening Luke had gently introduced us to the lighted space and the concept driving the night’s performance, making the throw away but carefully chosen remark that the silent and suspended spaces between the performances were as much an invitation to the human person as the immersive sounds and movements. We were invited to lie or sit on the floor on cushions, respond in dance and movement or in any way that the light/ sound/ silence conflagration affected us. It was certainly more than an affective concert or a mindless rave gig . The depth of sound and carefully engineered light scape were intended to affect us, to hold us and move across and deeply down into our senses. I think I needed another hour or two but my “soul” was affected and my arms and legs responded and revealed some of my soul’s story in those moments supporting some suggestions that we embody our experiences into and out of our unconscious and subconscious selves.
My intense interest in Mesmerism flows from my White Silence installation experiments,years of exposure to religion where silence and repetitive sound were sidelined and the construct that the material, spiritual, and physical worlds are not separate entities but one. Music is a fruit of all and affects all as “the language of heaven” or the leaking of the soul of the gods [God] into an internal elevating cycle. It is exciting to discover another person who is on a similar trajectory around the construction of space/ music/ art experiences and who obviously references more than the sensual and erotic and who can sidestep alcohol and Ecstasy use so successfully. What we are attempting to do is to construct an environment for a range of authentic bodily/sensory/spiritual experiences -including epiphany – or at least some kind of total body/mind/soul enrapture.
As humans we are hungry for – yearn for – these experiences. We felt safe in the space with our hunger and expectancy last Saturday. Luke’s use of computer based amplified digital sound wave compositions was mesmerising and it resonated with my search for works that have a sense of swoon or trance-like induction. My use of works by Arvo Paart [eg Spiegel im Spiegel] and Gavin Bryars [Jesus Blood Never Failed me yet] never fail to weave their mysterious spells in White Silence. The performance installation space at the Judith Wright Centre for Contemporary Art is a beautiful cocoon and the lighting was perfectly designed and installed for maximum effect in a way that allowed the music to dominate the performance.
Below: White Silence at Existence QCA June 2013 and White Silence at The Shed, November 2014