Events in parallel spaces - towards Organotopia

It's the most immobile and architectural of all instruments. The organ defines a space, it is a space. What if we dissolve the solid state of an organ concert and let the audience move in an out ?

I tried many times to invite the audience to move around, during a concert. Why? This is partly explained in the article "Lyden (og Messiaens orgelmusikk) blir til mens du går" in the book Lydkilder. Listening by walking in sound.

The first time I was able to make such a thing happen in an organic way, was in the 9-hour event Messiaen Complete in 2018. We used both two rooms of Stavanger konserthus - the classical concert hall and the multifunctional "black box" hall - located right beside eachother, with just a few meters of corridor in between.

This spatial solution made it possible to run a concert where everybody could choose one's level of participation. The video below will give you an impression of how one could navigate between the two spaces, also passing by the foyer and its food and drinks station, and the bird song gallery upstairs.

Creating and living the Messiaen Complete event was for me a groundbreaking experience that later led to creating the indoor/outdoor marathon Organotopia, a universe of people, stories, objects, voices and instruments set in the urban space. And musically, a "library of influences and a set of proposals for new music".

Organotopia happened at the Ultima Festival 2022 and is widely documented. How should I say it - this project acted both as a summing up and a new start. Into the pot of 12 hours of music I threw mostly everything I had worked on over the years, of classical repertoire and improvisation experience, of organ aesthetics and of collaborations with singers as the representatives of human vocal expression.

At the same time Organotopia is not at all about music but about social relations. The "Oslo version" of the project featured a collaboration with the young architect group Søstra100 who based their work on collecting stories from the neighborhood around Paulus Church and Birkelunden, Grünerløkka, Oslo.