ERIK SAMAKH

born in 1959 in Saint-Georges-de-Didonne. Lives and works in Serres, department of Hautes Alpes.

Erik Samakh
Les Joueurs de flūte, 1998
solar flutes suspended from the trees
(photography Q.Bertoux)

Using natural materials or electronic equipment, Erik Samakh works on sound in space, on sounds and silence. He develops and produces sounds that are never there for their own sake (even if their quality is such that they sometimes constitute real pieces of music), but are there with the place where they are heard. Moreover, their presence modifies this place.
This modification plays on several levels of perception, from the perceptible to the imperceptible, from the recognisable to the unknown, from the probable to the invented, and also on the receivers of the work, the animal and the human - i.e., on the actors in and of place. This is the context which makes Samakh's work meaningful. It is not so much a matter of aural imitation (traditional mimesis) or incongruity (hearing a frog in the bamboo garden at La Villette, a creature that lives only in hotter climates) as of creating an environment. One of Samakh's key ideas is to allow for the development of an apparently "natural" environment by the addition of sounds.
"This principle of the sound installation on which I've been working for several years now makes it possible to insinuate something into the visual and aural landscape and thus change the way of perceiving places and sounds. The resulting multiphony remains very close to the behaviour of animal spaces and enables the listener to be completely immersed in his or her imaginary world." (Erik Samakh).



the work for Enghien :
In 1997, some twenty modules emitting a rather repetitive sound, similar to the song of the cricket, were installed in Enghien near the chestnut tree by the thermal centre. In 1998, a more complex sound installation is being disseminated from the Ile aux Cygnes (Island of Swans), from there reaching the town where other sound sites are planned in order to set up some unexpected echoes. The sounds for Les Joueurs de flžte are always fairly short-lived but, unlike those of Le Marronnier, their tones are all distinct from one another because each module, using the autonomous energy of its sun panel, blows air into a flute that is unique. Thus, since there are some twenty flutes, the play of harmonics involves more extended combinations. The solar energy means that the volume varies with the intensity of the sun's rays. These two parameters together contribute to a constitute renewal of the sounds, until night brings silence. This variation coincides with the environment itself, that of the animals. The modules react to the climatic conditions. Likewise, more or less consciously, the passer-by, who belongs to the same moment, reacts to the sound he or she hears.

Description : sounds, to a greater or lesser extent repetitive. These sounds can be heard by day around the Ile aux Cygnes, as well as in other spots around the town.

Localisation : on the Ile aux Cygnes, on the lake at Enghien.