60 Vacuum Cleaners at Kling Klang, Lille

by | Oct 12, 2002 | MACHINES

Kling Klang, Ancien Hopital, Lille France, 12. October 2002
When we first asked Geert-Jan Hobijn to install some of his machines for LES CHANTS MÉCANIQUES, we just proposed him a huge place to invest. In fact an ancient hospital, built during the Middle Age and called “Hospice Comtesse”, a part of which being known as “La Salle des Malades”. Ill he wasn’t, but mad were the sounds he imagined for this place. Or not, finally, because -even if it’s not really the project he had on his mind, lack of time, but perhaps another year, dear Geert-Jan ?-, “Suck it Baby, A Lullaby in a Kitchen” has found its own place.

You need a visit ?
Some of the children standing in front of the eight beds were waiting for something to happen. “Could I be surprised ?” Some of their parents were laughing -discreetly, of course-, searching in their memories where they could have left their last waterwhistles, “well, was it in my cupboard when I was nine ; but could it be music with these kinds of vacuum cleaners and odd whistles ? Was it a joke ?” Some of the musicians being used to play in such a festival were wondering about the relationship between those hospital beds and the complete range of perfect DJ’s. “Could it be electronic music or just another strange sound-installation ?”

Not really. It was simply a concert. More precisely : several concerts, every half an hour, to alternate or to use combinations with “Pianoplayer” of LOGOS or “Cantan Huevo” of Peter BOSCH for a new noise symphony. Sometimes ambient music to emphasise Edith Piaf’s voice, or techno beat with yelling birds, sometimes ‘art brut’ drum’n’bass with vacuum cleaners engines or music for blowing wind in fifty bottles. You’d better had to be back each hour to follow STAALPLAAT’s exercises, and listen to the different musical waves.

And also to look at the smiles. When people get in the Hospice, they smiled because of their surprise, and when they were listening to the music with wide-opened eyes (“where does this sound comes from, will this little bird whistle when I look at it ? What’s the use of this bottle with ten plastic toys ?”), it was because this music was really made for the ears and the eyes, with children’s memories and also electronic. A joke. And not a joke. An hospital
sound that could cure us. For our pleasure.

11-11-02 – Emmanuel Vinchon, LES CHANTS MÉCANIQUES