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FLUX - Lighting up the House of European History

This year was the House of European History’s first participation in Museum Night Fever, the ‘annual big night out in the city’s museums’ organised by Brussels Museums Council. The House teamed up with French Brussels-based visual artist Joanie Lemercier who offered an artistic interpretation of the theme ‘Mapping Europe’. Using laser, light and sound, FLUX reveals connections, fluxes and intersections through a powerful interplay of lines enhancing the beautiful symmetry of the Eastman building, where the museum is located.

Joanie Lemercier is passionate about the infinite possibilities light projection gives to transform reality. “I love light. (...) We see the world with light, and with a projector, you can change light. So you can change the world, change how we perceive reality. It might be an illusion, it might be a trick, but light is a remarkable means to change perceptions.”

To create FLUX, Joanie was inspired by the collaborative mapping installation ‘Tracking my Europe’ which visitors find at the start of the museum’s current temporary exhibition ‘Interactions’. “I remember seeing how each member of the audience would map cities that are important for them, so this creates connections between all these places and cities, and gives you an overview of a relationship with all these countries.”

This became the core of the storyboard for the piece FLUX — not a classic “son et lumière” — but a rather abstract 6-minutes audio-visual show using RGB lasers. For this performance, Joanie Lemercier and his team were keen on experimenting with laser rather than regular video projectors: “I am fascinated by the brightness of lasers and how precise they are” — characteristics that the large scale of the Eastman building’s facade truly magnified. From 2-dimensional blueprints mapped onto the architecture of the building to constellations that are shaping and then merging into each other, FLUX’s laser beams warmed up the night and offered a powerful experience.

“Wow, the building looks amazing like this! I will look at it twice next time I pass by!” said one visitor entering the House of European History after seeing the show. Joanie Lemercier’s intention to change perceptions through light even goes beyond FLUX’s purely visual dimension: “I hope Europe will keep building itself and developing into a nice, unified large territory. Boundaries and frontiers make sense on a historical level but actually shouldn’t be barriers for people.”

FLUX, Joanie Lemercier, audiovisual piece, March 2018 for the House of European History

Joanie Lemercier: concept and creation, Seb Lee-Delisle: laser consultant, Virginie Serneels: light creation, Thomas Vaquié: sound creation, Juliette Bibasse: production