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Silvia Simons, Eye of Horus, Lunar Eclipse Project, Sound Art
The magic of a total lunar eclipse as aurally encapsulated and transmitted
by Marcel, the cat.
Sound Art Installation @ Galleria CONTACT Rome, Italy
21 - 29 November 2019
Silvia Simons, Total Lunar Eclips, Sound Art Installation at Galleria Contact, Rome

Acousmatic sound art installation in project-specific ambience/set-up in contemporary art gallery located in the superb Monti district in the centre of Rome The creative set-up - e.g. lighting, scent diffusion - is to support the project's strong philosophical/humanitarian concept. It is a bridge-building project between arts & science, between cultures & seeks to draw the attention to the underlying unity of all life. This project strives to give the visitors/audience an experience in that direction by starting with a unique audio recording which is the sole sound source used for the creation of the entire sound art work. Art, esp. sound, is capable of having a transformative effect which can stimulate harmony between people & with the environment/creation overall. In that sense, it is a ‘peace building agent’.  After its initial reception in Galleria Contact, it is envisaged to take the installation to other places, cities and countries.

Furthermore, this project will be inclusive: open and readily available to any interested person, regardless of educational, cultural or economic background.  We believe that art, and art that seeks to propose an awareness of unifying principles and/or intuits that which science has not yet proved, should not remain exclusive.

The story behind it:

On 31 January 2018, there was a total lunar eclipse to be observed in Melbourne. As I didn’t feel well, I was in bed watching through the large windows which go to ground level, how the garden, magically lit up by the full moon, gradually transformed and darkened till virtually pitch black when the eclipse reached its totality some time around midnight. At that precise moment, the cat Marcel who lives in that house jumped on my bed, pressed himself gently against me and started purring deeply, loudly and regularly for what seemed a long time. I put my ear on his body listening, which put me into what one might call an alpha-brain-wave state. There was a sense of timelessness and unity with all creation: no past or future, no separation but a complete sense of oneness with all life and a tranquil happiness.

The sound art:

It occurred to me to record Marcel purring during this eclipse. This recording now forms the basis for the sound art. It is the only sound source used, i.e.: no other sounds are introduced into this work. However, as the work progresses, at times I process/manipulate these purring sounds to various degrees and at times I leave them as recorded, forming a multi-layered whole.

The key concept or ‘philosophical premise’:

All is energy or vibration forming unique ‘constellations’ at any given time which cannot be pulled apart. The event and ‘energy’ of the lunar eclipse is encapsulated in that particular purr. It is no mere coincidence. The two are intrinsically linked, bound up with each other producing a whole. Regardless of people perhaps thinking, that Marcel’s purr would be the same at any other given time, I propose, that this would not be the case. In other words: by recording Marcel during the eclipse, I also recorded the energy or vibrations of that eclipse. The cat, due to its animal nature which is not cluttered by a mind full of busy thoughts and preconceived ideas as in humans, becomes a kind of transmitter for the cosmic phenomenon of the eclipse, which then manifests itself aurally in the purring.
Throughout the ages, lunar eclipses exerted a powerful influence on many cultures which gave birth to a myriad of myths such as, for example, a jaguar attacking and eating the moon in ancient Inca beliefs. As well, eclipses were often feared as an omen of something terrible going to challenge and interrupt the normal flow of life. Today, maybe one can propose, that there is indeed a special, strong kind of energy during an eclipse if one is open to it, which does not forebode disaster, but which can induce a meditative kind of consciousness which recognizes the underlying unity of all life rather than separate individuals in conflict. Thus, this sound art installation may become a vehicle for producing such a state in the listener as it has, with the help of modern technology, ‘fixed’ so-to-speak the lunar eclipse energy by utilizing the recorded purring of that time. The purring of a cat is naturally conducive to a less stressful, more meditative state of being but, I suggest, magnified here by the added phenomenon of the eclipse.

Organizations & artists involved in this project:

Silvia Simons

Marco Contini

Galleria Contact artecontemporanea

Collaborator on artistic set-up, feedback/input re sound art, Project Manager


Technical, Logistics and Communication Partner

Concept elaboration, Communication, Participation

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Silvia Simons, Art Without Borders, Lunar Eclipse Project, Sound Art Installation @ Galleria Contact, Rome


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