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– Interactive light art inspired by colour music

MUU Cable, Cable Factory
Tallberginkatu 1 C, 00180 Helsinki
Open: Mon-Fri 10-19, Sat-Sun 12-16

Tarja Ervasti, 2018


The light installation by Tarja Ervasti creates musical landscapes of colour and sound. The visual form of the piece alludes to the light organ, an instrument used in creating colour music, and to horizontal landscapes.


Opening ceremony on Thursday, 18 January 2018 from 5 to 7 pm. Welcome!

At sea and in the desert, the sky and the landscape blend together in the distance; at Ervasti’s home in Fiskars, the horizon hides behind the forest, which is mirrored on the surface of a lake. One source of inspiration behind Ervasti’s installation are the horizontal colour combinations in Mark Rothko’s work.

Colour music is an artform that is based on synaesthesia, a phenomenon that intrigued early 20th century Symbolists in particular. Colour organs were used for playing projected colours that corresponded to musical sounds. Works inspired by the confluence of sound and colour were composed by Messiaen, Stravinsky and Scriabin on the basis of their personal experiences of synaesthesia. The first colour organ was built by Bertrand Castel back in the 18th century.

The most common forms of synaesthesia are the association of sounds with colours, when sound stimuli produce a visual response, and the association of numbers and letters with colour.

Colour Music with Fractures is not based on a harmony between colour and sound, however. Instead, Tarja Ervasti’s light events share the same experience of emotion-colour with Willie Budsko’s contemporary music. The work features seven compositions and light sequences. The audience can interact with the installation by choosing alternative colour scales via a user interface developed by Jokke Heikkilä.

The exhibition also includes works from Ervasti’s Light Houses series. Ervasti’s light houses with fragmentary visions were first shown in Kansas in 1993, and most recently in Finland at Salo Art Museum and Fiskars in 2009.

Tarja Ervasti is a light artist and theatre lighting designer. She works on a wide front within the fields of spatial and environmental art. Her primary media is light with its motion, reflections and its dynamic with the environment.

Willie Budsko is a Helsinki-based composer, musician and producer. He works as sound designer and composer for short films and art events. He publishes his music under the aliases of Reni Ryder, Portamento Boy and others.

Jokke Heikkilä is a sound designer and lecturer based in Porvoo. He works in IT programming projects and in audio and visual productions that combine technology with performing arts.

This exhibition is supported by the Kone Foundation and the Arts Promotion Centre Finland.