João Onofre. Untitled (Orchestral)

Benjamin Weil

João Onofre conceived and developed Untitled (Orchestral), a performative installation, specifically for the Boiler Hall, taking its cue from the history of the Power Plant as a key provider of light, essential for the city. The towering presence of the boilers as well as the monumental proportions of the space also had their influence in the final characteristics of the project.

Proceeding with his research on the relationship between sound and space, João Onofre (b. 1976) has devised a real-time sound performance using the sun as both a source of light and energy and using the body of the boilers as instruments, a set of motorized drumsticks and other related devices perform a musical score in real time. The speed and strength at which they interpret that score is predicated by the position of the sun as well as the weather conditions: a light detection system relays back the intensity of the sunrays, thus determining the shape of the performance, which will therefore always be different.

The visitor will therefore be able to experience in real-time changes brought by elements that are essential to nature, which our modern lifestyle has almost completely obliterated. Indeed, most people, and certainly urban dwellers, have ceased to have any sense of seasons, barely noticing the lengthening and shortening of days, or the angle of the sun in the sky. With this new work, João Onofre materializes in a very compelling fashion the way these aspects affect us all. More than in any other piece in his body of work, the passing of time is key to this new installation.