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Light and music installation coming to Martin House visitor center

At dusk on Feb. 12, the glass-enclosed space of the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion will start to glow with a strange and unfamiliar light.

In the imagination of Berlin-based artist Olivier Pasquet, people may see that light from afar and be intrigued enough to take a closer look. When they do, they'll find him inside the airy visitor center for Frank Lloyd Wright's Martin House Complex, presiding over a light and sound installation which runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly through Feb. 16.

Because Buffalo's public art landscape is so summer-centric, it's a rarity for such a project to open in winter -- much less on a Monday night. The strange timing for Olivier's project, called "Lloyd's Mirror," is because it coincides with a short residency at the University at Buffalo, sponsored by UB's Creative Arts Initiative.

For Pasquet, a minimalist composer who often works in the theater, working in the Greatbatch Pavilion and in the shadow of the Martin House Complex was a chance to fuse two of his interests: minimalist music and social spaces.

As a composer and visual artist, Pasquet said he is drawn to geometric concepts and spaces. And that made Toshiko Mori's sleek, minimalist visitor center and Wright's low-lying, Prairie-style home the ideal venue for the project.

Berlin-based artist Olivier Pasquet created a light and sound installation for the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, which runs nightly from Feb. 12 to 16.

"The Prairie style is very geometrical and very horizontal. The approach of Frank Lloyd Wright is very geometrical," he said, adding that minimalist thinkers like himself tend to thrive when they work under imposed constraints. "The building where you perform the piece is also a constraint. There's no better constraint than doing something in a house, or related to a house where people are supposed to live."

As of this writing, the exact shape and form of the installation was still under development. But it essentially involves a machine-generated score playing inside the Greatbatch Pavilion at unexpected intervals. The music visitors hear will be in part influenced by Pasquet's light installation, which will oscillate between a single ray of light and bright bursts of activity.

Visitors can enter and leave whenever they please. There is not a set time, official beginning or end, for the piece.

The idea of the installation is to explore the idea of minimalism or simplicity in music, art and design. Like Wright's design for the Martin House, which looks from the distance like a few sketched lines floating above the landscape, the installation is designed to appear simple from afar but reveal complex patterns upon closer inspection.

"The idea is if you look from far away it will be very minimalist, very ambient," Pasquet said of his work, "and if you look closer you will see and hear tiny rhythms, tiny patterns."

Pasquet will give a talk about his work at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, 143 Jewett Parkway. Admission to the installation is free. Visit buffalo.edu/cai for more information.

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

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