Music & Light Symbiosis no. 3 | APPLIED PURE at the MI

Music & Light Symbiosis no. 3

Live water projection with small pool on left, harpsichord being played in the middle and live feed projector top right, held in the MI’s lecture theatre L2, Monday 18th November 2019. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019

A water and harpsichord concert and an art exhibition held in the Mathematical Institute, Oxford

Katharine Beaugié – Water and Light Sculpture  

Medea Bindewald – Harpsichord

Joseph Black – Water Sculpture & Pool Technician

Curated by Balázs Szendrői

Andrew Wiles Building, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, OX2 6GG

EVENT: Monday 18th November 2019, 6.30 – 8.30pm

EXHIBITION: 18th November – 6th December 2019

The concert

A unique collaboration between light sculptor Katharine Beaugié and international concert harpsichordist Medea Bindewald, combining the live, spontaneously made patterns of water and light with the sound of harpsichord music in a mathematical environment.

My hand in the water pool with refracted light of the surface on the left wall. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
Double manual harpsichord after Pascal Taskin (Paris, 1769) made by Keith Hill. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
Medea Bindewald playing the harpsichord. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
Joseph Black using props to move the water surface, others included his breath, hands, beads.
Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
Joseph Black making a drop fall on the water surface. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
The concert APPLIED PURE, harpsichord, water & light. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019

The programme of music for harpsichord and water:

  • Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757): Sonate in A-Dur K. 208 Adagio e cantabile, Sonate in a-Moll Allegro K. 175
  • Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667): Suite XX in D-Dur
  • Enno Kastens (bn. 1967): Schattenreise (Shadow Journey 1995)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Partita VI in e-Moll BWV 830

M E D E A  B I N D E W A L D

Having played the harpsichord since she was eight years old, Medea Bindewald belongs to the small group of ‘native speakers’ on her instrument. In her artistic work, she enjoys venturing into areas beyond the mainstream. This is also reflected in her two CDs, released by Coviello Classics: Jacques Duphly, pièces de clavecin and Jacob Kirkman, Lessons & Sonatas. Both recordings have been awarded 5 de Diapason by the French magazine Diapason.

Her concert career has taken her to numerous music festivals and concert series across Europe including Kultursommer Rheinland-Pfalz, Festival de Música Antiga Barcelona, ​​Tage Alter Musik Bamberg, Schlosskonzerte Bad Krozingen, Bruchsaler Schlosskonzerte, Heidelberger Frühling, Stour Music, and Horniman Museum London. From 2003 to 2010 she taught at the University of Music and Theatre ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ in Leipzig.

Medea welcomed the opportunity to work with Katharine on this project.

“I am fascinated with the timelessness of Katharine’s photograms which appear to be new and old at the same time: new like something one has never seen before, and ancient as the features seem to be familiar, because they reveal principles of nature. I would like to think of my music making in a similar way. As a specialist of Early Music, I connect the past with the present moment in every performance.”

Medea Bindewald, 2019
Medea Bindewald 2019. Photograph by Stuart Hollis

“One of Europe’s finest harpsichord performers”

BBC Radio Leicester

It is not simply the perfection and brilliance of her playing that is charming, but also the extraordinary intensity with which the music resonates.

Aalener Kulturjournal

The Exhibition

A series of black and white photograms (photographic shadows), displaying the patterns of the natural phenomena of human relationship with water and light.

APPLIED PURE the exhibition. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
APPLIED PURE the exhibition. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019
APPLIED PURE the exhibition. Photograph by Louisa Love © 2019

K A T H A R I N E   B E A U G I E

Katharine Beaugié is a light sculptor; she works with our primal human relationship to light and shadow and its resulting connection to being. Whilst living in Scotland she first worked with water and light, inspired by the dark, still lochs and the extreme dark and light of the Scottish Latitude.

Katharine has been developing the Music & Light Symbiosis project since 2013, working with musicians to combine various forms of sound & music with water & light installation work, in an immersive environment to provoke and generate a new, live, improvised symbiotic experience.

The idea to position the natural phenomena of wavelengths of water and light alongside the sparkling, effervescent music made by the harpsichord was developed by Katharine in response to an invitation to exhibit by Balázs Szendrői after he saw a photogram artwork by Katharine exhibited in London in 2018; this event has been designed in response to the mathematical environment, the magnificent space designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects and its occupants, with wavelengths and energy in mind.  The title ‘Applied Pure’ references Katharine’s process of working to apply the state and quality of purity as a creative medium, using natural phenomena directly to visually manifest the most primal of truths.

“Katharine compels her audience to contemplate life’s stark realities. Yet at no time do you feel adrift. She welcomes you to the dark and glittering universe beyond the gallery walls with a gentle, human hand.” 

Georgina Treloar, Writer/Musician, 2018

A selection of the artwork

Drop | God, 2019 digitally enlarged photogram of the shadow of a drop on water © Katharine Beaugié 2019
hand in developer | primal, 2019 digitally enlarged photogram
Floating feathers, 2019 digitally enlarged photogram
Wave 1 2019 digitally enlarged photogram
Hand through developer | moment 2019 digitally enlarged photogram

To see all the artwork, please go to the artwork section:


Martin Kemp, art writer, historian and leading authority on Leonardo da Vinci.

There is a documentary film being made about this project; please watch this space…

In the mean time, this film of experiments made for the project might inform you of the overall effect.

Experiments in studio in preparation for APPLIED PURE at the MI

Katharine would like to thank all the below sponsors for their contribution to make this venture possible. She would also like to thank Anthony White, Mrs. Mary Esslemont and the Tory Family Foundation for their generous financial contributions.

Thank you to all who contributed to this project: Joseph Black water sculptor & pool technician, Louisa Love documentary photographer & art installation assistant, David Alderman artist’s assistant, photographer & art installation assistant, Matt Appleby documentary filmmaker & Harry Reeves assistant filmmaker, Jane Haigh general assistant, Dyrol Lumbard events promotion, Keith Gillow technical manager, Mark Doyle technical assistance.

Thank you also to Clare Smith, Joanna Jones, Benjamin Hunt, Anna Braithwaite, Brigitte Orasinski from Strange Cargo, Mark Deller and Nico Kos Earle.

And finally; thank you so much to Prof. Balazs Szendroi, Mathematics professor of University of Oxford and art curator, who first saw my photograms in the exhibition SURFACE in 2018 (curated by Nico Kos Earle) and invited me to exhibit. APPLIED PURE turned into a monster project, but Balazs bravely stuck with it. We were frontier people, bringing art into a brave new world of Mathematics.

This project is dedicated to the memory of my great-grandfather, Sidney Edmund Beaugié bn. August 21, 1879 who achieved a double first in Mathematics and French at University of Oxford in the early 1900s.

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