The Norwegian-American Artist Camille Norment has been commissioned by the Office of Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) to develop the project Rapture for the 56th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venzia.
The exhibition opened on May 6, and this year Norway will be solely responsible for the Nordic Pavilion.
Camille Norment’s (b. 1970) Rapture is a site-specific, sculptural and sonic installation, for which the American-born, Oslo-based artist has composed new music on glass harmonica – a legendary 18th century instrument that creates ethereal music for glass and water.
The instrument was invented by Benjamin Franklin and once played by Mozart and Marie Antoinette. The glass harmonica was at first celebrated for curing people with its entrancing music, but later it was banned because it was thought to induce states of ecstacy and arouse sexual excitement in women.
In a contemporary context, Norment explores the tensions this music raises today by creating a multi-sensory space, which reflects upon the history of sound, contemporary concepts of harmony and dissonance, and the water, glass and light of Venice. She is composing a new chorus of voices that correspond to the notes of the glass harmonica, and this chorus will surround visitors to ‘Rapture’.
‘Rapture’ will explore the relationship between the human body and sound, through visual, sonic, sculptural and architectural stimuli. Today the sonic realm can be both a space of misuse, as we have seen in the militaristic use of sound to abuse the body, and of affirmation, as in the performative utterance of free speech to affirm the right of the body’s very existence.
‘Sound, by its nature, permeates borders – even invisible ones. Throughout history, fear has been associated with the paradoxical effects music has on the body and mind, and its power as a reward-giving de-centraliser of control,” says Camille Norment and continues, “Recognized as capable of inducing states akin to sex and drugs, music is still seen by many in the world as an experience that should be controlled – especially in relation to the female body – and yet it is also increasingly used as a tool for control, especially under the justifications of war.’
Katya Garcia-Anton, Director of OCA, Norway and Curator of the Nordic Pavilion comments: ‘We have commissioned Camille Norment to represent Norway at the Nordic Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2015 because she is one of the most innovative, cross-disciplinary artists working in Norway today.”
About Camille Norment
Camille Norment (b. 1970, Silver Spring, Maryland, USA lives and works in Oslo, Norway) works as an artist, musician and composer. Norment’s practice includes performance, installation, drawing, writing and sound, and draws from the artist’s training in music, dance, the visual arts and literature. Norment is concerned with investigating the relationships between sound, music and the visual arts and questioning the meanings of harmony and dissonance. Her art explores the socio-political encoding of sound historically and in the present, reflecting upon the power of dissonance to carve out a space for dissent and creative thinking.
Norwegian-American artist Represents Norway in Venice, Source: the Office of Contemporary Art Norway (OCA)