Metronome is a multi-sensorial installation from London’s 2021 Design Biennale
Alter-Projects partners with French design studio Servaire&Co, to present Metronome, an audio-olfactory installation that stimulates involuntary memory through sight, smell and sound, to help visitors rebalance their relationship with time.
Multidisciplinary curatorial agency Alter-Projects is participating in the 2021 London Design Biennale, which is taking place now until the 27th of June at Somerset House, under the artistic direction of Es Devlin.
Responding to the overarching theme of Resonance, Alter-Projects partners with French design studio Servaire&Co to present Metronome, an audio-olfactory installation, which triggers a succession of sounds and scents through the oscillation of a large metronome. Featuring in the Biennale’s category of Special Projects, the installation creates an immersive space playing with visitors’ perceptions and rebalancing their inner peace by bridging the gap between spaces and memories.
Highlighting the notion of resonance both visually and metaphorically, the Biennale hosts installations that enable spectators to dig deep into their emotional memories. Inspired by the great master of French literature, Marcel Proust, and his novel In Search of Lost Time: In Swann’s Way, which centres its narrative on the theme of involuntary memory, Metronome is an altar to the senses, aiming to create a time bubble for visitors to reconnect with themselves and deep-seeded memory. The multi-sensory experience aims to trigger a combination of visual, olfactory and sound emotions and plunge spectators into a meditative internal journey.
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The physical metronome, in the shape of the infinity symbol, is to be placed at the centre of the space, surrounded by sound emanating from the corners of the room. A scent diffuser is to be attached at the end of the pendulum, which oscillates while being held by a supporting structure.
Metronome’s innovative diffusion system, developed by Sebastien Servaire, Candido De Barros and Gregory Sidoine from Servaire&Co, is based on a cartridge containing enclosed scented beads that, when put in contact with air flow, activate and release a continuously evolving scent, thus creating a unique olfactory atmosphere around the Metronome.
The space is engulfed by an ASMR experience, conceived by technology futurist and wellness consultant Steve Lastro and enabled by the cutting-edge and discreet audio system Azimut from K-Array, which emits a mesmerising sound developed by Moodsonic linked to the repetitive movement of the metronome.
“Curating for this year’s Biennale is a great honour. The theme resonance had a very emotional and visceral connotation for me. Through Metronome I want visitors to ask themselves: ‘does this resonate with me?’ I want to bring back the notion of involuntary memory and how our senses are able to revive or create incredible memories” says Anne-Laure Pingreoun, founder of Alter-Projects.
Pingreoun initially set out to showcase France’s best savoir-Faire across different domains, having selected Servaire and his team for the field of Design. “The theme of resonance spoke to me immediately. There is a resonance in the heart of the mind when one smells something familiar, forgotten, or longed for. Through combining these smells with ASMR sounds, lighting, and dynamic design, Metronome places personal emotions at the heart of the experience, allowing visitors to be truly present” says Sebastien Servaire.
Putting wellness at the forefront of their initiative, Alter-Projects seeks to create a symphony of sound and fragrance, taking visitors on a journey to a calming, meditative and reflective space, in the aftermath of 2020’s intense disruption. Being able to awaken the senses without physically touching, Metronome stands as a proud testament to the importance of human and interpersonal reconnection, creating an emotional space where spectators can feel at peace with themselves and their time in space.
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More about the exhibition
The exhibition is taking place at Somerset House (Strand, London WC2R 1LA, United Kingdom), from June 1 to June 27, 2021. It can only be accessed by booking, and you can purchase your ticket here. For more information, please visit London Design Biennale’s website.