Experiments in Visual Music


13 minutes

World Premiere: World Music/CrashARTS 
ICA Boston 
May 2008

In 1754, between absurd attempts to apply his aging worldview to natural occurrences, the French Jesuit monk Father Louis Bertrand Castel, also a mathematician and physicist, invented the ocular harpsichord or color organ. Twice the size of a grand piano, this miraculous object was comprised of 144 musical keys, 240 levers and pulleys, 60 reflecting mirrors, and 500 candles. 

Dazzling although awkward, it was precursor to both disco ball and MTV in its ambitions to inspire visual ecstasy. Castel genuinely hoped that some day every Parisian household would possess one of his instruments.

  photo courtesy of Boston Globe

photo courtesy of Boston Globe


Direction: Alissa Cardone & Alla Kovgan 
Choreography & Performance: Alissa Cardone 
Sound: Jessica Rylan 
Sets: Dedalus Wainwright
Film and Video Design: Alla Kovgan (cinematography Mkrtych Malkhasyan)
Lights: Kathy Couch
Costumes: Laura Coulter

With the support from LEF Foundation & NEFA Meet the Composer