duendepr.com news Antoine Bertin at the Centre Pompidou, MAC VAL, and Centre Wallonie Bruxelles

Antoine Bertin at the Centre Pompidou, MAC VAL, and Centre Wallonie Bruxelles


In this early 2021 period, sound artist Antoine Bertin pursues his online experimentation in Paris at the Centre Pompidou for the homage Dans l’intimité de Kandinsky [Sounds Like Kandinsky], at the MAC VAL with a performance for the Brognon Rollin tandem, at the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles with two installations on the climate emergency (pictured above), while awaiting his residency at the Diagonale Paris Saclay with the Laboratoire d’Ecologie, Systématique et Evolution (ESE) of the CNRS, where he will set the molecular archaeology work of research director Juergen Kroymann to music next September.


Play a Kandinsky at the Centre Pompidou

As part of the tribute to Kandinsky from 10 February to 31 December 2021 Dans l’intimité de Kandinsky at the Centre PompidouAntoine Bertinand the electronic musician NSDOS are devising potential interactions between the work of the genius of abstraction and the records that he listened to as he worked. While the general public are relatively familiar with his effect on abstract art, the man behind the canvas is less well known. Thanks to the high-definition digitization of thousands of rare works and archive documents (paintings, sketches, drawings, personal photographs, and correspondence), this digital experience brings together his emblematic masterpieces, but also shares his travels, revealing the memorable encounters of his life or deepening our knowledge of his gift of synaesthesia – a neurological phenomenon affecting his sensorial perception and enabling him to associate sounds, colours, and forms. All of these elements are fundamental to understanding his œuvre.


This homage comprises three parts. An online monograph brings together artworks, photographs, palettes, paintbrushes, and other personal effects. Using a smartphone or tablet, a Pocket Gallery allows us to discover a virtual exhibition in augmented reality presenting Kandinsky’s masterpieces. Then there is Play a Kandinsky, Antoine Bertin and NSDOS’s original interactive experiment that aims to reinterpret Kandinsky’s gift of synaesthesia against the yardstick of modern technologies, by combining machine learning and  the two artists’ original creation, in partnership with Google Arts.


333 Hz at the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles

“If a tree falls in a remote forest, with no one around, does it produce a sound?” This is the question that Antoine Bertin answers at the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles until 28 February, with the installation 333 Hz.  According to the measurements made by the Global Forest Watch (GFW) platform since 2001, 20,000 trees disappear each minute from the face of the earth. This vertiginous cadence is beyond our comprehension and escapes our senses. What would we feel if we could hear each tree falling throughout the world?


The beat per minute (BPM) is the unit used in music to measure tempo. By transposing deforestation to a musical scale, the artist invites us to listen to its rhythm. A series of metronomes is installed on a pile of logs, recalling the way in which they are laid on the edge of trails once cut. Each of the pendulums of these metronomes beats against a log on the pile according to the rate of deforestation of an old-growth forest. Each pulse that the visitor experiences corresponds to a fallen tree.

Macval©Helene Combal-Weiss 3

Maybe Some of Us Will Listen to This at the MAC VAL

“It is in the void, then the wind, then birdsong that the music and words of humans find their origins,” Antoine Bertin explains. Invited by the tandem Brognon Rollin to devise a performance for the end of their solo exhibition last 31 January at the MAC VAL, entitled L’avant-dernière Version de la Réalité [The Penultimate Version of Reality], Antoine Bertin chose to float the sound of a piccolo through the exhibition space, set to the rhythm of the beam of light from the artwork Le Bracelet de Sofia. This instrument, often used by orchestras to reproduce birdsong, plays a score composed in collaboration with a neural network (Google Transformer), invited to generate variations based on a melody taken from Brognon Rollin’s work.

Macval©Helene Combal-Weiss 5

The performance and its title also echo a creation by the two artists that is absent from the exhibition Maybe Some of Us Will Change This, created in 2019 for the ICA Los Angeles, in which Brognon-Rollin staged this Mazatec-recorded sentence whistled on a beach across the US/Mexican border. You can find it on the MAC VAL website.


Species Counterpoint at the Centre Wallonie Bruxelles

Counterpoint is a form of musical composition that consists of the organised superposition of distinct melodic lines. The installation Species Counterpoint stages a mechanical piano on which two different tunes are played, respectively obtained from the transcription of the DNA sequences of a plant and a human. Based on the observation that plants and humans share 60% of their genetic material, this sound installation allows us to hear a composition that celebrates this kinship between plants and humans. An invitation to meditate on the symbiotic nature of our relationship to the plant world.


The mechanical piano is a recording and sound-reading technology that emerged in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The instrument works by way of pipes and bellows enabling it to draw in and expel the air around it, as the score inscribed on the perforated scroll unfolds. The DNA is constituted by four nucleotides based on which the biodiversity of the living world as we know it has been encoded. With the aid of a programme created by the artist, each nucleotide, symbolised by the letters A, T, G, or C, is attributed a musical note in order to obtain a score. Written on the perforated paper, the plant DNA notes activate the pianist’s left hand while the performer’s right hand plays the melody of human DNA several octaves higher. Human DNA includes 6 billion nucleotides. At the speed of one note per second, it would take the piano over 100 years to read our entire genome. The project was curated by Juliette Bibasse and received STRP festival’s ACT award.



Antoine Bertin. Born in 1985, Antoine Bertin is a graduate of the ENS Louis Lumière and the London College of Communication. Antoine Bertin is attentive to the frictions, hiatuses, and curiosities of the world. His work involves a combination of science and sensorial immersion, field recording and sound narration, musical data and composition. Antoine Bertin’s creations take the form of auditory experiments, sound sculptures, and audio meditations on the subject of the living world.

His work has been presented at the Tate Britain (London, UK), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris, Fr), the Serpentine Gallery (London, UK), and at the festivals Kikk (Namur, Be), STRP Festival (Eindhoven, Nl), and CCCB (Barcelona, Sp). Between 2015 and 2020, he produced a quarterly programme entitled The Edge of the Forest for the web radio NTS (https://www.nts.live/shows/edge-of-a-forest), where he presents the sound of an invisible world. In Paris in 2018, he founded Sound Anything, a creative studio of listening experiences (www.soundanything.com).