PassiFlora — Les Fleurs de l'Électricité

PassiFlora — Les Fleurs de l'Électricité is a live cinema performance originally developed in 2011 by Bardo Frings. It uses digital algorithms and real-time generated computer graphics in combination with generative audio software to unfold different layers of an evolving abstract-expressionistic universe through improvised audiovisual compositions.

The piece came to fruition after extensive research into electromagnetic fields of both artificial and natural sources, and the complicated interactions these phenomena undergo with organic life. The piece forms a metaphor for the intricate relation between electromagnetic forces and organic life, an abstract-expressionistic reflection of the possible effects of electromagnetic disturbances nowadays created by modern technology, affecting present and future development of life on our planet.

For the piece, original sources of electromagnetic field recordings from the city are used, which are translated into sound. The soundscapes resulting from these recordings are further processed and combined with synthesized sounds, influencing visualized computer algorithms which are based on growth structures found in natural plant life.

While the piece is on one hand inspired by modern scientific research in the field of bioelectromagnetics and related fields, it is at the same time rooted in late 19th and early 20th century esoteric views on the upcoming use of electricity. When electricity in Western society started to become more and more ubiquitous in a haze of mystery and excitement, controversial occult teachers described electricity as a fundamental force of nature, which should not be extracted through mechanical means, for this would disturb the natural harmony of forces in the universe. According to such esoteric views, the increasing use of electricity in society would lead to a diminishment of the will-power of individual people, detracting human evolution from its original course, while life on earth would be drained and give rise to a new order of soulless, yet superiorly intelligent, mineral-like creatures that would take over the surface of the earth and increasingly entangle the human spirit as it would be broken apart by lifeless mechanical laws.

PassiFlora is a poetic reflection of these processes, showing how we are unknowingly devoured by electromechanical forces manifesting in our surroundings while staring obliviously into the abyss woven around us by these emerging entities.

The piece has been performed in various stages of development at the Cabinets of Curiosities exhibition at the Vrije Academie/Gemak in The Hague in 2011, the KABK Graduation Exhibition 2011 in The Hague, Blikopener Ontkiemt in Delft in 2011, the FIBER Festival, Amsterdam in 2012, Wonderwerp at Studio Loos, The Hague in November 2012 and SOTU Festival, Amsterdam in 2013.

Video fragments recommended in fullscreen-HD with sound.

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