Behind the Biennale: Camille Norment’s Haunting Symphony Shatters the Nordic Pavilion

Standing in front of the shattered windows of the Nordic Pavilion, Camille Norment sheds light on her minimalist, multi-sensory installation, entitled “Rapture.” Here, the artist explores the sonic possibilities of glass and, in tandem, the euphoric and traumatic effects of sound on mind and body. Piped through large microphones that seem to grow from the ceiling like tree branches, a haunting round of 12 female voices—each moving back and forth between two notes—vibrates through the space. Large-scale panes of broken glass are strewn along the edges of the Sverre Fehn-designed building, suggesting the extreme power of sound and its ability to break through barriers of all kinds. A hypnotizing performance by the Camille Norment Trio activates the installation—Norment plays the glass armonica (an instrument played by Mozart and Marie Antoinette and later banned for its capacity to arouse ecstasy), Håvard Skaset strums the electric guitar, and Vegar Vårdal spins through space like a whirling dervish while playing the violin. “This piece is not about things being destroyed or being torn apart,” says Norment, “but it’s about something being shaken up—just like getting goosebumps when you’re happy … or when you’re frightened.”
Directed by Poppy de Villeneuve.