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Vol. XXXII No. 21, February 16-28, 2023

60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Elysée Treaty at The Madras Literary Society

-- by Thirupurasundari Sevvel

On January 23rd last month, an eager audience gathered before the facade of the Madras Literary Society, awaiting the sunset. A light show was to be projected upon the building in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty – a treaty of friendship between France and Germany that was signed at Paris, in 1963. As for the choice of venue, the honour fell to the Madras Literary Society because the organisers wanted a heritage building that represented diversity in art and legacy. The spectators that day were not disappointed: the evening’s light and sound show – a collaborative effort by the Goethe-Institut Chennai, Alliance Française de Pondichéry, Alliance Française of Madras, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Chennai and the Consulate General of France in Pondicherry and in Chennai – was truly a treat for the eyes.

Artists DJ Psychorigid, Blindoff and Golden Disko Ship with Michaela Kuchler (Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany), Lisa Talbot Barre (Consul General of France in Pondicherry), Sarah Kirlew (the Australian ­Consul-General in Chennai), Patricia Thery-Hart, (Director of Alliance Française of Madras) Dr. Anna Katharina Görgen (Director, Goethe Institut), Mrinalini (Goethe Institut) and MLS members Prabhu V., Binu Nair, Umamaheshwari, Vinayagam and Thirupurasundari S.

The occasion was flagged off by Ms. Mrinalini of the Goethe-Institut, Chennai, who spoke about the Elysée Treaty and the significance of the Madras Literary Society as the venue. It was followed by speeches from Michaela Kuchler, the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany and Lisa Talbot Barre, the Consul General of France in Pondicherry. Also present for the occasion were Sarah Kirlew, the Australian Consul-General in Chennai, Dr. Anna Katharina Görgen, ­Director of the Goethe Institut and Patricia Thery-Hart, Director of Alliance Française of Madras.

Three artists helmed the spectacular light and sound show – DJ Psychorigid, Golden Diskó Ship and Blindoff. DJ Psychorigid is an artiste of Tamil ethnicity, born in Moufia, Reunion; he represented a certain segment of Reunionese society and his section presented indie Tamil songs with a heavy influence of traditional music instruments. Golden Diskó Ship a.k.a Theresa Stroetges is a Berlin-based composer, musician and sound artist whose work aims to defy conventional practices and break genre boundaries. Her section presented a famous, original number, with her instruments evoking heartfelt emotions in the audience.

Photos Credits: Anna Katharina Görgen, Muruganandh Kumeresan and S. Padma Malini.

Finally, Blindoff helmed the lighting. He is an artist residing in Reunion, working extensively on land art and architectural mapping. His lighting created a pyramid over the gathered audience and generated a thrilling illusion of the trees, and the building itself, dancing and moving to the tunes.

The projection on the elevation of the building was carefully curated and executed to be non-intrusive, heritage-sensitive lighting. Being an architectural lighting expert, Blindoff spent extensive time working closely with MLS – he studied the ­different patterns of book-binding covers, elevation drawings and unique facade details including the jallis, jharokhas, the three-level terrace and four-level details. These elements were beautifully integrated into the lighting presentation, which projected the book-binding patterns and other architectural details as moving light. A particular piece which was a projection of the MLS elevation and MLS logo – choreographed to the music performance – was greatly appreciated by the senior members of the library and volunteers.

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