VELA 6911 - a multimedia piece by Victor Gama

sunday, 20th january  7p.m. Gulbenkian Foundation - Lisbon

VELA 6911 - a multimedia piece by Victor Gama the south african link to tectonik:TOMBWA

Vela 691 is the code name of the US satellite that detected the nuclear blast performed by Sotuh Africa on the 22nd of September in 1979. The test was conducted in the South Atlantic off the cost of Antarctica. It’s also the name of a new piece Victor Gama composed by invitation from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The piece was premiered during the concert series MusicNOW at Harris Theatre in Chicago on the 5th of March 2012 and was a result of an invitation from composers-in-residence Mason Bates and Anna Clyne.


The story of this piece is based on the logbook left by lieutenant Lindsey Rooke from the SADF (South Africa Defence Forces), a South African woman who took part in the atmospheric nuclear test and had made the trip on a navy ship to the test’s remote location. In her logbook she describes the incredible nature she witnesses along the trip, its power and beauty, in that Antarctic region where the test took place. She also describes the blast but it’s her descriptions of the nature she witnesses on the way to the test site that are remarkable.


The music score, inspired by her somewhat initiatic journey, which sparked a consciousness awakening, is coupled by a series of video clips projected during the performance. The video is a collection of observations from the scientific stations based in Antarctica and on what she might

have witnessed along the trip, like the ocean, icebergs, whales, albatrosses, and many natural phenomena such as the aurora australis, storms, lightening, thunder, etc.


The video that is used in the multimedia piece Vela 6911 was shot in Antarctica by Victor Gama aboard a polar research ship during a research and field trip he made in January 2012 to collect sound and video to, following the descriptions in Lindsay’s logbook.
Some video clips have been captured at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station by Dr. Allan T. Weatherwax, Professor of Physics at Sienna College, NY and Dr. Yusuke Ebihara at Kyoto University who kindly agreed to collaborate on this project. Several unclassified documents about this particular south Atlantic event have been supplied by Dr. Regina Lee Roberts, Bibliographer for Anthropology, Lusophone Africa & Sociology at the Green Library from Stanford University, who are kindly partnering in this project.

Focus on Nature

The main idea of the multimedia piece is to show what was there, in that pristine natural sanctuary, where such an incredible power of destruction was unleashed. It addresses our consciousness, as inhabitants of this planet, searching for our place in the universe with a responsibility to preserve, rather then destroy its Nature. 


by vários
Vou lá visitar | 7 January 2013 | satellite, victor gama