Marguerite Humeau

Cleopatra – A Capella Love Song, 2014

Hall du Théâtre Princesse Grace

Horaire : 29th April 2016

Photo credit: Cleopatra – That Goddess

Marguerite Humeau’s work is focused on reviving extinct or hidden worlds, as well as exploring the concept of fading, and the impossibility of talking about things we will never truly know or experience. In her “Prehistoric Creatures” project, for instance, Marguerite attempted to reconstruct the vocal tracks of extinct prehistoric animals, a difficult task considering that the sound organs of these species were not preserved in fossils.
Other works by Marguerite include recreating an 18th century musical instrument forbidden at the time for causing insanity in listeners, and reviving the singing voice of Cleopatra, or at least the closest possible approximation, performing a song in extinct languages spoken by the famous Egyptian queen. This is a proposal to resuscitate Cleopatra as a twenty-first century diva and to create her first recital. Cleopatra was the first of her dynasty to learn Egyptian. She will now sing in the nine extinct languages that the pharaoh used to speak, namely: Ge’ez, Median, Ancient Greek, Arabic, Egyptian, Aramaic, Ancient Hebrew, Troglodyte, Persian. For this project, Marguerite Humeau travelled around the world to find the last translators of each of the nine languages. She then worked with laboratories of speech synthesis in Cambridge and Paris to recreate her synthetic voice.

Marguerite Humeau (born 1986) is a French designer and artist based in London. She has presented her work at exhibitions such as ‘Talk to Me’ (MoMA, New York, 2011, curated by Paola Antonelli), ‘The Universal Addressability of Dumb Things’ (Hayward Touring, 2013, curated by Mark Leckey), ‘Politique Fiction’ (Cité du Design, 2013, curated by Alexandra Midal), and presented her installation Back, here below, formidable on July 14, 2011, as part of Test_Lab: The Graduation Edition. Her work is in collections such as MoMA (New York) and the Fondation d’entreprise Lafayette (Paris). She is currently preparing a solo exhibition for the Palais de Tokyo in Paris for June 2016.