Truce (Concert Version)

Curated by Vinciane Despret and Nicolas Donin
Produced by Centre Pompidou (Joséphine Huppert) and Pro Helvetia

Truce: Strategies for Post-Apocalyptic Computation by Robin Meier and Ali Momeni (2009)

Adaptation by Robin Meier for live Dhurpad and Ondes Martenot with Nirmalya Dey and Christine Ott, November 2021, Centre Pompidou, Paris.

In their seminal paper “Flying in Tune: Sexual recognition in mosquitoes”, Gabriella Gibson (University of Greenwich) and and Ian Russell (University of Brighton) discovered an inspiring phenomenon: male mosquitoes synchronise their buzzing frequency to match that of a female mosquito. The authors suggest that this phenomenon facilitates the mosquitoes’ ability to copulate mid-flight.

Nirmalya Dey, pandit of the Indian vocal tradition of Dhrupad and Christine Ott, renown virtuoso of the Ondes Martenot instrument, harness this curious musical behaviour. During a forty-minute interspecies improvisation, they encounter and harmonise with three live mosquitoes. Listening to each other, each musician enables and gives voice to the others as they tune in and out of unison.

Special Thanks go to philosopher Vinciane Despret who invited this performance during her residency at the Centre Pompidou, Nicolas Donin (IRCAM) for moderating the conversations, Bernard Fort for his inspiring talk on bird songs, Joséphine Huppert (Centre Pompidou) and the Service de la Parole for the production, Mylène Weill and Sandra Unal (Université de Montpellier) for breeding the mosquitoes, Gabriella Gibson for her valuable advice and last but not least Lionel Feugère (University of Greenwich) for preparing the mosquitoes, his presence and scientific advice.

Thanks also to Centre Pompidou, IRCAM and Pro Helvetia for their financial support and Laurent Dumas / Emerige Collection for lending the work.