Performance and dual projection screening at Rad#1 at Knipsu in Bergen, 2011.
A video projection portrays a particular scientific procedure; The daily and meticulous setting up, tuning, adjusting, aligning and repositioning of instruments performed by 85 meterologists and metrologists measuring solar irradience. Behind the audience, short, fleeting glimpses of a dancer’s gestures as she performs a Baroque dance called Sarabande. In the center, a musician sits by his harpsichord, ready to commence his performance.

Modern scientific methods arose at around the same time as the dance Sarabande became popular at the French court. The Sarabande was originally a noisy and erotic art form that originated in Guatemala and Mexico. It can apparently be traced via Spain back to the Moors: the word sarabande itself is said to have meant ‘noise’ in the Moorish language. Known to have been Louis XIV’s favourite dance, it gradually became very slow and restrained. It expresses desire through exquisite precision performed in an exaggerated manner.

The Sarabande is characterised by solemnity and controlled passion, while some music researchers have described it as being ‘devoid of passion, merely expressing ambition’. It is not certain that there are any connections between Louis XIV, one of his favourite dances and 85 meteorologists meeting on a mountain in Switzerland to measure the irradiance emitted by the sun, but by pitting these elements against each other, I developed this piece as a way of reflecting upon this.

Harpsichord (live) performed by  Hans Knut Sveen, Sarabande (on video) performed Elizabeth Svarstad and Signe Lidén.

Supported by Vederlagsfondet.