Viiniexpo: Day 2, the big day.

By Matthieu Guinard

As Tuomas has already explained, the main factor of uncertainty for day 2 was… himself. Since he was booked for a concert in Germany on the previous evening, it meant the timing would be short.

On day one, I had the opportunity to check on the tasting-concert venue. It was clear that the acoustics would be challenging and regarding the pictures that I brought, there was no way I could hang them. The solution that we had already and successfully experimented was to use music stands as a display system. This solution is fantastic and in total harmony with our concept, but it is an heavy one. And on these thoughts, came day two, the day of the performance.

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Therefore, my first tasks on this Saturday morning were a matter of logistics. The timing was as follow : moving camera, computer and pictures (12 of them, 50×70…), before 10., from the hotel in Haaga to Messukeskus in Pasila. Then I was to go downtown Helsinki to find two stands, between 10. and 11.. And finally I wanted to be back for the opening of ViiniExpo at 12. Or so I thought… Here, I needed to organise a few things and help with the tasting before heading to the rehearsal around 13.00 in Työväenopisto, where the TV interview of Tuomas would be recorded from 14.00 to 15.30. Then I had to be back to ViiniExpo to check on the piano delivery, set up the photos and video before the concert at 16.30.

Fortunately I did not need to travel all around Helsinki with my gear. I could indeed drop everything before going on with my quest for stands. Naturally, I did not find the one I wanted… nevertheless, I got two of them. By 11.45 I was back on ViiniExpo… still with no news of Tuomas… only to discover that it had actually opened at 11.00. So much for my impeccable timing 🙂 To be on time for the rehearsal, I had to leave at 12.30. The fair being busy and a last minut request from the TV producer made me delay my leaving untill 13.15. They wanted a bottle of wine and glasses. I picked a bottle of Relats 2011 by Recaredo, only to remember afterwards that considering the Finish law on alcohol, it would not be possible to see the bottle in any case… The interview went fine and fast and, soon, I was back on ViiniExpo (…again). 16.00. We were on time!

For this tasting concert, I had planned three pictures for display instead of twelve. For reasons of space and budget. I thought I could probably find a way to hang a few more but I could not. However I had already decided to take advantage of the projection material available. In the very begining, my first idea in the project was to use video projector rather than real photographies: it gives less meaning to the images individually, but it is better to create an atmosphere and a graphic background, visible from the distance. This time I would be able to use it the way I intended.

In my vision of the tasting-concert, this two medium – photography and video – are complementary. The twelve picture I have selected are extremely, carefully picked. Their goal is to express my vision about the wines, it is what I could call an artistic creation. Extracted visual impressions that will translate my feeling about the wine. By themselves, they could be exposed autonomously: they are the visual counterpart of the music, an exhibition-tasting.

The logic of the projection is different. In that case, the documentary aspect is essential. My goal is to give a visual context to what we explain, what we express, what we play. Its secondary role is to provide a visual anchor for the public, which is all the more vital when you cannot perform in a dedicated auditorium. In that case, video is a bit like an illustration. The difficulty is not to distract from the music, therefore the absence of rhythm and the exaggerated slow path of the video.

Yet, there was one thing I had not foreseen or planned, what was actually a miraculous and fantastic coincidence. When I plugged the computer to the video projector, I left it open to use the screen as a support for one very special picture (the one you can see just here). Therefore, the screen was displaying the slow-motion photograph-movie directly in front of the musicians. And this was the greatest thing of all because the string trio had no experience about the project besides the music they were playing: they had never been to the place, they had never met the people behind the wine. While they were playing, they were able to see what we saw and took part of the whole experience.

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This unexpected way to include the musicians is one of these extra bit of magic that proves, in my opinion, that the way we have thought and developed our concept is just exactly how it should be.

I hope I can share this experience with you once, if not already.

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