Archives du mot-clé Text film

Transbrasiliana

2005, 557’, couleur, sonore, triple projections et photos composites  triple screen projection
2006, 770’, couleur, sonore, six projections simulatnées Six screen projection

La découverte du Brésil depuis quelques années m’a conduit à interroger ma pratique cinématographique autant sur les manières de filmer que sur ce qui est filmé. Il existe, pour les occidentaux un Brésil de fantaisie qui domine toutes représentations du Brésil ; à côté de cette image il y en existe encore pour les autres races et toutes ses représentations se modifient en fonction du fait de son adhérence ou non aux valeurs dominantes, c’est-à-dire de la société occidentale. Le Brésil se réduit pour beaucoup à quelques images. L’échelle du pays, la diversité des paysages, le métissage des populations, tout concours à en faire une sorte diffuseur inconscient d’image. Une multiplicité de point de vues sans qu’aucune ne domine, un mélange et une dissémination des séquences dans l’espace, une contamination par les sons [1] qui reconfigurent l’espace générale de la projection. L’image se dissout dans l’espace, dans la lumière des autres projections constituant l’installation. On est plus en présence d’une image pure, qui se détache dans l’obscurité et affirme sa suprématie en tant que telle. L’image en mouvement comme occupant ponctuel dans l’espace.
transbrasiliana 3 - copie
Avec Transbrasiliana, il m’a semblé nécessaire de proposer un tissage d’images qui seraient avant tout des fragments, des lignes de fuite sur le(s) paysage(s). Filmer à plusieurs caméras (au moins deux : celles de Edson Barrus et les miennes) sans pour autant recourir aux found footages. Travailler le paysage dans ses ruptures géographiques ou temporelles. La durée de filmage dépend des rencontres, des détours et des arrêts. On a juxtaposé les manières de filmer, autant que les manières de monter. Il s’agit de filmer en passant. Il ne s’agit pourtant pas d’un documentaire, ni d’un journal filmé. La durée choisie permet de travailler des motifs et des thèmes en fonction de leurs surgissements. La structuration d’une masse de documents s’effectue selon plusieurs configurations qui se chevauchent et se séparent en fonction du rapport entre les écrans et les sons, qui ne sont pas contigus (spatialisés) mais, qui peuvent se raccorder par le défilement de textes poétiques, littéraires, politiques en français et en portugais. Ces déroulants textuels traversent l’écran, faisant signe à d’autres qui peuvent à tout instant surgir. Ces rapports du texte avec l’image modifient l’immersion. Ils travaillent, comme le font de leur côté, les images, en modifiant les rapports entre : spectateurs et images projetées. Il n’y a pas d’écran privilégié (comme il n’y a pas de position privilégiée pour filmer), ainsi, on retrouve flux et parcours ; une transversalité, un regard diagonal qui erre d’un écran à l’autre. L’usage des textes [2] dans le film est distinct de ce que j’ai fait auparavent avec Still LifeTu, sempre où est absente [3] . Le choix des langues utilisées m’importait. Deux langues furent choisies : le Portugais et le Français. Je décidais volontairement de ne pas inclure l’Anglais [4] . Les textes apparaissent dans des deux langues, ils ne sont pas traduits d’une langue à l’autre, ils défilent latéralement au centre ou au bas de l’image. Ils viennent suspendre par leur irruption dans l’image, par leur déplacement la lecture des séquences. Certains textes sont des extraits de classiques de la littérature brésilienne, du XVIII et XX siècle. Ils sont alors en français, alors que la plupart des textes d’informations sur le meurtre de sans abri à Sao Paulo, ou des luttes des sans terre sont en majorité en Portugais. Aquarelles du Brésil [5] est en Français, tandis qu’un autre, du même auteur : Jomard Britto est en Portugais . [6]
Transbrasiliana 9 a
Alors que nous remontions vers le Nord, c’est-à-dire vers Belém, le nombre de camions et de bus augmentait, parmi, ceux-ci, dominait une compagnie du nom de Transbrasilia. La déclinaison de ce nom a donné à l’installation, son titre. Accroissement et diversification du réseau.

Les éléments qui composent ce tissage ne sont pas à proprement parler des documents, le film n’est pas un reportage, mais il documente des voyages, des incursions (excursions) dans des paysages brésiliens. Il fonctionne comme un kaléidoscope de séquences qui, parfois, d’un écran à l’autre, se répondent, en dehors d’une trame narrative définie. Les représentations sont aussi diverses que les lieux visités. L’accumulation de distances parcourues, les contrées traversées, tout semble affilier ce projet, au film de tourisme, tel que pratiqué par l’art contemporain. Le film n’a pas été motivé par l’obtention d’une bourse permettant de séjourner dans une contrée exotique qui pour des raisons de marché (reflet d’une projection post coloniale) est devenu l’un des nouvel eldorado qu’investissent les artistes occidentaux contemporains. Il provient d’une rencontre, qui a modifié le cours de mon existence, et m’a conduit à vouloir découvrir le pays de cet homme. À partir du moment où l’on quitte son quotidien pour s’immerger, comme le font tant de voyageurs, dans d’autres réalités, dans des territoires dont on ne parle pas la langue, un sentiment de dépossession peut vous envahir. Ce sentiment indique avant tout : la non-appartenance ; que l’on ne saurait confondre avec celui que peut ressentir une « personne déplacée » [7], puisque, à l’opposé du réfugié, on ne fait que transiter. Dans cet état, notre attention se déplace : on regarde autrement, tentant de se rassurer, en ne prêtant attention qu’à ce qui semble familier, ou proche, mais souvent on voit différemment ce qui nous entoure, n’ayant plus la caution de l’habitude qui transforme les paysages qui nous entourent en un espace d’ameublement que l’on parcoure sans plus y prêter attention. On est, pour ainsi dire sur le qui vive, (une inquiétante étrangeté ?) à l’affût du moindre signe, mais dont nous n’avons pas la moindre capacité de reconnaissance comme telle. Nous sommes dans un état de non-adhérence. Ainsi le paysage, les lieux, les habitants, les comportements revêtent une autre dimension, qui est le signe distinctif de cet exotisme que nous cherchons, subissons, trouvons, façonnons. Dès lors, rien ne nous empêche de filmer ces lieux investis par les touristes comme ceux qu’ils fréquentent moins.

transbrasiliana 9dAinsi les vues attendues de Brasilia (architecture de Niemeyer) où de Rio de Janeiro (Pao de Açucar) pour ne citer que deux villes, s’opposent aux plans du Nordeste ; de même les plans d’Amazonie ne correspondent pas à la projection que nous nous faisons de ce territoire, qui à la manière du Brésil est pluriel. Ces projections nous empêchent bien souvent de voir ; on extrait les clichés par de-là les spécificités du lieu ou des habitudes, on disqualifie par inadvertance ce que nous ne savons saisir, nommer, en le réduisant au seul exotisme. Ces images sont une réalité, certes fabriquée, puisque des clichés, mais une réalité, ils ne sont cependant pas la seule réalité du Brésil. Il ne s’agit cependant pas seulement d’un journal filmé, ni d’un film de voyage qui s’en tiendrait aux belles vues, accompagné de leur commentaire palliant les défaillances de la représentation [8] par son caractère informatif et affectif. Cependant, l’une des conditions du filmage consistait dans la cueillette d’images lors de la découverte des endroits, différant ainsi des lieux que nous habitons et pour lesquels les stratégies de filmage sont autres puisqu’on est plus dans le registre dominant de l’impromptu. Mais dans tous les cas, on ne peut esquiver cet « effet-tourisme » qui se donne à voir dans les images que nous récoltons autant que dans les objets que nous rapportons. Les films constituant cette installation sont des films mouvements, des films déplacements dans lesquels le corps est présent dans la prise et à l’intérieur des prises. Ces déambulations, ces parcours sont interrompus par des pauses qui confèrent aux lieux d’autres dimensions temporelles grâce à la suspension dont ils participent. Ces pauses sont localisées, mais ne se répartissent pas dans les trois écrans, dans la mesure où ceux-ci se répondent, s’interpellent, comme le font des rythmes musicaux qui viennent hanter ou parasiter les espaces filmés. Il est ici question du tissage entre les séquences des trois écrans, qui manifestent la diversité des situations filmées. Cependant, il ne s’agit pas d’une accumulation, et encore moins d’une archive (d’autres l’ont fait avec plus ou moins de brio) qui viendrait célébrer le territoire brésilien, ses richesses, sa nature luxuriante. Il s’agit plutôt de constituer aux moyens de fragments, un album qui n’en aurait ni la finalité ni l’ordonnancement : une mosaïque. Celle-ci est composée de moments distincts dans toutes leurs diversités et similarités (carnaval à Santa Téresa ou Recife, manifestation de sans terre dans le Tocantins, parcours de l’avenue des ministères de Brasilia, déambulation dans le marché Vere-o-Peso de Belém, dans celui de Parangatu, ou ces promenades le long du fleuve San Francisco à Petrolina). Cette mosaïque partage cependant avec le tissage la production de motifs et de rythmes d’entrelacements et de croisements d’information de toutes sortes qui interrogent autant ce qui est filmé que la position et le regard porté par celui qui filme. Les films ne correspondent pas non plus aux formes et aux lissages produits par l’imagerie touristique, documentaire. Ils incorporent en les exagérant quelques modes de filmages du cinéma expérimental, c’est-à-dire : la caméra tenue à la main, dont la légèreté lorsqu’il s’agit d’une caméra digitale, augmente les filés et les bougés qui ont tendance à être de plus en plus banni, soulignant un peu plus la domination d’une image de plus en plus calibrée pour ses éventuelles diffusions. Ainsi les films travaillent des séquences qui en alternance mettent en jeu des temporalités et des comportements distincts. Ils sont alors des lignes de fuite plus que de simples enregistrements. En ce sens ils ne sont pas non plus détachés de ce qui est filmé.

transbrasiliana 9eCe ne sont pas là films d’observateur ; ils n’ont aucunement l’apparence d’une objectivité quelconque. Leurs distances se situent aux croisements, ils sont une construction, une rencontre, une expression ; en ce sens, on pourrait dire qu’ils sont la marque de cette « entre » que tisse la rencontre. D’une altérité l’autre s’élabore ainsi une dynamique constituant les séquences des films. En aucun cas il ne s’agit de se mettre à la place, on est plus sur le côté, ce qui ne veut pas dire être en retrait, mais à côté. Il n’est pas question de substituer, ni même de filmer pour. La relation établie se situe à la croisée des captures. Si le filmage repose principalement sur une saisie d’évènements (défilé lors du carnaval de Recife, rua Bon Jésus, parcours dans le centre de Sao Paulo, procession lors de la fête de San Sébastian à Rio, traversée de fleuve à Vitoria ou Juazeiro, pluie torrentielle dans le Minas Gerais), ils sont utilisés, par la suite, lors du montage comme ambiance et non pas comme simples reproductions d’enregistrements. Ces images ont toutes été, d’une certaine manière, déjà vues ; elles sont banales, communes, ordinaires [9]. Cependant leurs traitements et leurs assemblages les distinguent dans la mesure ou elles sont prises comme matériau autant que comme matière. Ainsi peuvent-elles se figer dans une photographie en se combinant avec d’autres comme elles le font d’un écran à l’autre, en plus de l’organisation linéaire de chaque « bobine » (entendue comme dvd). Entre la prise, le montage et la projection les cérats temporels vont s’accroissant.

transbrasiliana 7 - copie juxtaposition des espaces et des temps au moment du montage et lors de la projection est disjointe. En effet un des principes de l’installation veut que l’ordre et la distribution des dvd (et donc des relations que les séquences à l’intérieur de chaque dvd entretiennent avec les autres) dans l’espace de l’installation est laissée au choix des personnes qui gèrent la galerie, tant que l’enchaînement des dvd ne se répètent pas d’un jour à l’autre, consécutivement. Cette distribution multiplie ainsi les relations en favorisant par permutations et variations les relations entre les séquences de chaque écran. Chaque visite devrait, en principe, offrir une autre distribution des images dans l’espace, qu’ils s’agissent de leur localisation que dans leurs relations. Ce traitement plus ouvert renforce l’idée de fragmentation et d’éclatement que vient souligner la mise en espace des images qui sont projetés ou qui occupent plusieurs plans simultanément, cassant par la même la primauté à l’image comme surface. L’image projetée est brisée, coupée, tranchée. Elle n’est plus une surface unique, elle est multiple et remet en cause par la même la suprématie de l’image cinématographique qui ne peut se dire que dans, par et pour la salle de cinéma. Ici les préoccupations ne relèvent plus de cette manière d’envisager l’objet de la projection. Il s’agit d’un déplacement de réception. Un rééquilibrage qui s’effectue au profit du spectateur, de sa position et de ses choix. Les sons créent des ambiances plus ou moins prégnantes à partir desquelles s’effectuent les déambulations que les colonnes de photos viennent parfois obstruer. Retour sur les textes utilisés.

Ainsi Transbrasiliana créé des lignes de sons et d’images qui sont autant de coupes mouvantes dans les espaces et sons métissés du Brésil. C’est ce phénomène de métissage qui travaille tout le projet.


[1] On entend entre autres dans les différents sons des chansons de Chico Buarque, Funk Favelas Prohibito 1 et 2, Jackson do Pandeiro, ainsi que les sons ambiants natures, villes etc

[2] Les textes sont de Clarice Lispector, Caio Fernando Abreu, Machado de Assis, Jomard Muniz de Britto, José Demacedo (MST), Joao Pedro Stédile, Le journal des MST, Folha de Sao Paulo, Folha on line, Jornal do Brazil, Jornal do MST, Frédéric Bourdier, Le monde diplomatique, Le Monde, Libération

[3] Still Life 1997, Tu,sempre 2001, est absente 2004

[4] Si cette langue doit être incorporé lors de présentation ultérieure, alors ce sera sous la forme de sous titre.

[5] Aquarella do Brasil est une chanson très connue composée par Ari Barroso.

[6] Bordel Brasilirico de JM Britto

[7] Traduction de « displaced person », dont la figure dans le cinéma expérimental est Jonas Mekas

[8] André Rouillé : La photographie, Folio essais 450, Gallimard, Paris 2005

[9] On pense à L’infra-ordinaire de Georges Perec Le seuil Paris 1989

est absente

2004, video projection on a mirror which reflect into a room. A loop, color silent 5’40 Maison Arthur Rimbaud

2004, projection sur le miroir de la cheminée dans la chambre d’Arthur Rimbaud, Charleville Mezières

Commande de est ce une bonne nouvelle.

est absente 7
La bande travaille à partir d’extraits de différents poèmes et lettres de Rimbaud. Les textes se présentent à l’écran, de plusieurs manières qui favorisent ou mettent en cause leur lecture.
Il s’agissait pour moi non pas de donner à lire des poèmes mais de donner envie d’en lire. C’est en ce sens qu’il faut comprendre les différentes vitesses de défilement des textes en déroulant ou mot à mot.
Les textes de Rimbaud sont majoritairement en français et en anglais et pour certains en traductions allemandes et italiennes.

 

 

 

Copie de Image 4
How to convey poetry as a necessity without using image?
Recover the strength, the rhythms, the pathos of what was, what is at stake for a reader discovering this poetry.
Reading Rimbaud today, means to relate his experiences, his desires to ours, it means that we see a strong connection between his quest and what is today at stake about gay issues.
Selecting pieces of poems and letters I have tried to give back a kind of emergency that I sense within his poetry. Connecting different periods I wanted to give the desire to read him again and anew.

Granted by estceunebonnenouvelle http://estceunebonnenouvelle.org

Tu, sempre # (english)

Installation Tu, sempre 
# 1, 2001, La criée, Rennes
# 2, 2002, EOF, Paris
# 3, 2003, Galerie de l’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Tours
# 4, 2003, Galerie Faux Mouvement, Metz
# 5, 2003, Espace multimédia Gantner, Bourogne
# 6, 2004, La Compagnie, Marseille
# 7, 2004, After Foucault, Vacarme, Les Voûtes, Paris
# 8, 2008, Centre d’Art La Panera, Lleda
# 9, 2009, CRAC Languedoc Rousillon, Sète
#10, 2010, Conversations Intimes, Musée départemental de l’Oise, Beauvais

Co-realisation: Thomas Koener, production La Criée, centre d’art contemporain Rennes, Université Rennes 2, Le Crea, as part of Mettre en scène, Théatre National de Bretagne

many of these racists

As an installation, Tu, Sempre is dealing with different Aids representation. Work about the history of these representations as much as about the way today these representations are often avoided. As if Aids doesn’t exist, did not ever exist. A rotative screen of which one side is a mirror, received and diffracted within the gallery space images and texts about aids representation. Texts in French, English, Italian run from the screen to the walls, in a constant movement. The body presence is emphasize not only by our inclusion within the apparatus but also as the skin of different people. Two beam in the shape of an x are projected onto the rotative screen, inducing fragmentation, collisions onto the screen as much as on the walls.
A collection of photographs from lovers, friends, and anonymous, some dead, others still living, sick or not are placed on three walls. On the floor a map of world aids epidemic is projected.
The ambient sound convey screams from demonstration as a text is delivered. Four voices can be listen at on separate CD.

“This text which is not one: Tu, sempre by Yann Beauvais”

by Keith Sanborn

I Cinema as text: text as cinema

I will repeat once again: there exists prosaic and poetic cinema and this is the fundamental division of the genres: they are distinguished one from the other not by means of rhythm, or rather not by means of rhythm alone, but by the predominance of technical-formal elements (in poetic cinema) over semantic ones, in that formal elements replace semantic ones, in resolving a composition. “Plotless” cinema is “poetical” cinema.

Viktor Shklovsky “Poetry and Prose in Cinematography” trans. Keith Sanborn [“Poezija y Proza v kinematografii” in Poetika Kino Moscow and Leningrad 1927 Berkely Slavic Specialties reprint 1984, p. 142]
If the facts destroy the theory-so much the better for the theory. It is created by us, not entrusted to us for safekeeping.

Viktor Shklovsky
In Defence of the Sociological Method,” Russian Poetics in Translation 4 (1977): 94. Originally published in 1927.

How should we describe a work such as Tu, Sempre by Yann Beauvais? Visually, it consists of roughly 40 minutes of videotext in movement and arrest, largely white text varying in size on a black background, interspersed with a small number of images; its audio is a dirge of drone music by Thomas Köner punctuated by voice-overs by several individuals, sometimes one at a time, sometimes several at once. Text appears in French, English and Italian and voice-overs are in French and English. It is a work of immense complexity and depth and this is but the beginning of a possible description.

And where should we situate it historically? by genre?

The familiar formulations of genre in narrative will get us nowhere: it’s not a western, it’s not a musical, or a detective film. But those familiar with the history of avant-garde cinema will have already recognized even from the sketchy description given above that this work belongs to the genre referred to as the “text piece.” A short definition would be: a media work in which the use of text is visually foregrounded. The best known examples would be Richard Serra and Charlotta Schooman’s Television Delivers People (1973) in video, Michael Snow’s So is this (1982) in film and perhaps Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries flash movies from the late 1990s on-line. In fact, since the 1970s, text, in the form of both written and spoken language, has enjoyed a resurgence and integration with images largely unknown in experimental cinema since the beginning of the sound era. The works of Yvonne Rainer, Hollis Frampton, Paul Sharits, Su Friedrich, Craig Baldwin, Peggy Ahwesh, Guy Debord and René Viénet come to mind. The work of Isou, Lemaître and Christopher MacLain should be remembered as well, though they precede and fall somewhat outside the more widespread revival of interest in text as cinematic form.

The recuperations of the genre by American television commercials of the 1990s testify to the wide recognition of the historical importance of this work. For as Manfreddo Tafuri has pointed out, the fate of formal innovation in the arts is to be coopted by advertising.

Within the varied body of Yann Beauvais’s work, Tu, Sempre is one of several contributions to the genre. His earlier efforts include Still Life (1997) (video) sid a ids (1992) (video) andVO/ID (1987) (double projection film). Beauvais is also accutely aware of the history of the genre, having been one of the principle curators of “mots: dites, images” (1987). This collaboration between Scratch and the Pompidou Center remains the major international survey of the use of text in cinema, making Beauvais one of the major contributors to the theoretical and historical formulation of the genre,.

But the issue of genre is far from solved by simply labeling Tu, Sempre “a text piece.” For while it has pragmatic descriptive currency, such nomenclature is often little better within the domain of experimental cinema than “western” or “musical” is among narrative films. And while it names a recognizable entity, it says nothing about the relationship between films of that genre and other films, broadly considered. A more interesting possibility for locating Tu, Sempre and others like it is offered by the work of Viktor Shklovsky and the distinction offered in the epigraph to this section of my essay.

Shklovsky was one of the most thoughtful and widely educated theorists ever to seriously consider the relationship between film and literature. His basic division between prosaic and poetic, semantically dominated and formally dominated cinema has an elegant and intuitive simplicity about it. It offers the possibility of locating the fundamental dynamics of a work with respect to others. It says more than: It’s one of these and not one of the myriad of others. Its difference from other works is a matter of insight across disciplines. It produces relational information, rather than simply adding data.

To understand the basis of Shklovsky’s generalization, we should recall that he worked not only as a literary theorist and experimental novelist, but as a script writer, so he is deeply aware of the difference between literature and cinema even as he looks to apply to the domain of cinema the analytical tools he has brought over from anthropology into literary theory.

The title of Shklovsky’s short essay referred to above, “Proza i poezija v kinematografii” plays not only on the dual meaning of “kinematografija” as “cinematography” and the “film industry” more generally speaking, but alludes to the metaphor contained in the Greek etymology of the word “kinematografija”: the writing or drawing of motion. In Russian, as in Ancient Greek, one writes an image, or draws a text: “pisat’” does the same double duty as “graphein.” As we might now understand it, the gambit is to suggest, by way of this etymological play, that the cinema may be understood as a form of inscription. If it is, then implicitly, the rules which govern the folk tale and literature should also apply.

Further, Shklovsky alludes to the distinction he developped elsewhere between “fabula” and “sjuzhet”-roughly “story” and “plot”-a distinction which remains a fundamental theoretical reference point in the history of the attempt to analyze narrative in cinema. And while making this allusion to narrative, Shklovsky is attempting to point beyond the world of narrative cinema, to account not only for more familiar kinds of cinematic experience, but to see cinematic practice along a continuum comparable in breadth to the fundamental literary distinction between prose and poetry.

The examples he adduces to illustrate this insight range from Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris(prose) to Pudovkin’s Mother (which begins as prose and ends as poetry) to Vertov’s A Sixth Part of the World (poetry).

Shklovsky was committed to serious analytical attention to both radical literary form and radical cinematic form. He had previously participated in and had written about the circles of Russian Futurist poets and painters; he was aware of their interest in joining linguistic and visual experimentation, such as in the work of Alexander Kruchenych. He also commented on the work of Vertov and the Kinoks. Perhaps because he takes radical experimentation both as an author and a subject, as one of his starting points, he is not one to flog a theory to death in order to make it align with practice, or vice versa. Throughout his work, he grapples with texts and experiences to reach insights into literary, political and psychological processes. If he’s forced along the way to modify his positions and assumptions he does so, and humor with resilience. When he reaches a dead end, he reflects on how he arrived there, leaving engaging narratives of endless and pleasurable delays, of unexpected excursions.

Tu, sempre puts Shklovsky’s insight to the test and produces immediate paradox. For while Tu, sempre clearly belongs to the poetic cinema-the “bessjuzhetnoe kino” [the plotless film]-which Shklovsky indexes to the work of Vertov, it is incorrect to characterize it as replacing semantic elements with formal ones in order to resolve the composition. The semantic aspect of this work, which we will consider later, is of fundamental urgency.

Tu, sempre offers a direct challenge to Shklovsky’s basic rules of cinematic form, because in spite of the supple and intuitive justice of Shklovksy’s insight, it somehow fails to account for a cinematic text-and let us remind ourselves that “cinematic text” is, after all, a metaphor-which foregrounds text itself equally as a strategy of cinematic form and as a vehicle for semantic content. Tu, Sempre further problematizes, while clearly posing the question, of the meaning of the resolution of a composition, in other words, closure.

Considering the matter in terms of one modernist conundrum of set theory, Tu, Sempreand the genre of “text pieces” intersect with the textual metaphors of film theory in the way that both chimeras and golden mountains famously belong to the set of non-existent objects: they are members of the set of all sets which are non-members of themselves. This genre, as practiced over the past 30 years, occupies one of several spaces between “art” and “theory,.” Ironically, or by design, it tends to subvert the claims of the kind of theory, based on the metaphors of linguistics, that may even have suggested it. And that is a most instructive work of destruction.

We might dismiss this paradox as contrived or even “inevitable” since Shklovsky set out those rules in 1927 and Beauvais made his work at the turn of the next century, but even by 1927 cinema practice had developed to the point where Tu, sempre might be considered a special case of the art of the intertitle. For animated titles were well known in the Soviet cinema of the 1920s and Dekeukeleire’s forty-nine-minute Histoire de détective, which consists of intertitles interspersed with a few deliberately banal images, would appear only 2 years later. Tu, sempre would not have been a technically inconceivable work in film for Shklovsky. Even sound recording was already known and The Jazz Singer, which had just appeared, was far from the first instance of experiments in synchronized sound.

II. Détournement as negation and prelude

Le plagiat est nécessaire. Le progrès l’implique. Il serre de près la phrase d’un auteur, se sert de ses expressions, efface une idée fausse, la remplace par l’idée juste.

Lautréamont, Poésies II,1870

Le plagiat est nécessaire. Le progrès l’implique. Il serre de près la phrase d’un auteur, se sert de ses expressions, efface une idée fausse, la remplace par l’idée juste.

Guy Debord , La Société du Spéctacle, Section 207 1967

In positioning Tu, Sempre as a social form of intelligence, Beauvais makes use of the legacy of the cultural and political strategy known as “détournement.” It was first theorized by Gil Wolman and Guy Debord in the 1956 as one of the perennial weapons of the avant-garde and later became one of the principle strategies of the Situationist International in their critique of the dominant ideology of their era. The Situationist International, in the first issue of their magazine, Internationale Situationiste (1958), provided the following definition:

détournement

S’emploie par abréviation de la formule : détournement d’éléments esthétiques préfabriqués. Intégration de productions actuelles ou passées des arts dans une construction supérieure du milieu. Dans ce sens il ne peut y avoir de peinture ou de musique situationniste, mais un usage situationniste de ces moyens. Dans un sens plus primitif, le détournement à l’intérieur des sphères culturelles anciennes est une méthode de propagande, qui témoigne de l’usure et de la perte d’importance de ces sphères.

This is the necessary form of plagiarism of which Debord speaks when he detourns Lautréamont in the passage from Society of the Spectacle cited above as an epigraph. Lautréamont is acknowledged as the patron saint of creative plagiarism, a practice to which he had extensive recourse in creating his own literary works. These were widely admired by the Situationists and, for that matter, the vast majority of important 20th century intellectuals in France. In the Society of the Spectacle, just after his own détournement of Lautréamont, Debord offers this refinement:

Le détournement est le contraire de la citation, de l’autorité théorique toujours falsifiée du seul fait qu’elle est devenue citation; fragment arraché à son contexte, à son mouvement, et finalement à son époque comme référence globale et à l’option précise qu’elle était à l’intérieur de cette référence, exactement reconnue ou erronée. Le détournement est le langage fluide de l’anti-idéologie. Il apparaît dans la communication qui sait qu’elle ne peut prétendre détenir aucune garantie en elle-même et définitivement. Il est, au point le plus haut, le langage qu’aucune référence ancienne et supra-critique ne peut confirmer. C’est au contraire sa propre cohérence, en lui-même et avec les faits praticables, qui peut confirmer l’ancien noyau de vérité qu’il ramène. Le détournement n’a fondé sa cause sur rien d’extérieur à sa propre vérité comme critique présente. (paragraph 208)

While that paragraph could easily eat a hole in the page large enough to devour this entire essay, it will not, prevent us from recognizing that, in Tu, sempre Beauvais creates his own variation on this practice. The Situationists for the most part refused to footnote their collective works or to claim them as intellectual property, though they did copyright, footnote and claim their droits d’auteurs for individually authored works. Beauvais, in a sense, has it both ways: first, immersing us in a sea of text, largely originating elsewhere, then, at the end, acknowledging that he has done so. He further reveals that some of the texts and all of the images were his. Music is credited and the identities of the speakers of the voice-overs are revealed. He credits those who provided technical and moral assistance to the project. And yet, the acknowledgement which frames the work as a counterpoise to the title card, carries this nuance: there is no simple way to identify which texts originate with what authors, or which voice-over belongs to whom. Beauvais’s own voice and texts are undifferentiated from the others, except by what qualities we may extract from them at the moment. He positions himself as one subject among others, so that we may do so as well. He takes the further step of subverting his authority by giving his own name entirely in lower case in the three places in which it appears in the credits.

In a parallel effort to problematize the politics of cultural and linguistic hierarchies, Beauvais uses not only texts in French but a great number in English and two in Italian in constructing the piece. Sometimes the English texts are translations of the French and vice versa. Sometimes a text may appear earlier then repeat itself later in its original language. Sometimes a text may be superimposed upon itself, with the text scrolling slowly up the screen from bottom to top while the same text crawls rapidly across it from left to right. This strategic device offers two conflicting senses of engagement. As the text scrolls vertically, we have a sense of reading at our own pace; as it moves horizontally, the speed at which we assimilate it seems controlled from without. Texts appear vertically as well, sometimes with letters oriented to the horizontal, one above the other, as in Apollinaire’s Calligrammes, sometimes at right angles to the “horizon,” thus challenging what might be called a crawl or a scroll in these cases.

Several other tactics are employed as well to control and to question the way text appears on the screen: sometimes a text will crawl from right to left while its mirror image-each letter flipped left to right-will crawl from left to right. Sometimes the process of mirroring occurs at the level of syntax, where a text will crawl from left to right in its normal order, while the same text crawls left to right with each word transformed so that the first letter appears last and the last letter first. At one point three, pairs of texts and their syntactic mirrors appear on screen. But there is more at stake than narcissistic entrapment in a labyrinthine mirror phase. What is at stake is an attempt to subvert the invisible, organizing hierarchical power latent in the givens of ordinary syntax, by holding a mirror up to language.

We are being challenged to disinscribe and reinscribe these texts. And the effect we might compare with Shklovskian ostranenie [“enstrangement”]. It is here taken to an extreme even Khlebnikov or Hugo Ball might appreciate, but with this difference: there is no utopian project of creating a transrational language [zaumnij jazyk], or even a nihilistic one of destroying language for the sake of shock. Rather as we decode these texts linguistically, we are forced to acknowledge the fact of their cultural and ideological coding.

As texts are superimposed across a slow-motion pan of a wall with homophobic graffiti (“AIDS CURES FAGS”), upon rushing landscapes of trees which dissolve to hand-held excursions across male limbs and torsos, across blank and tatooed skin, we are given composite images of the inscription of this network of social text upon the body politic as upon individual bodies.

While the broad outlines of a strategy of détournement may recall work such as Michael Wallin’s Decodings of 1988, it is here not pre-existing images which are recaptured for a delirious personal erotic narrative, but the texts-out of which AIDS has been created as cultural construct-which are placed under scrutiny, a word, then a letter, at a time. Tu, sempre analytically bodies forth the process by which this composite ideological construct of collective experience has been inscribed in “our” consciousness.

It is crucial to note, however, that this project has as its focus no master narrative-even by way of a montage of these inevitably familiar and unfamiliar texts-but rather the possibility and necessity for the construction of individual subjectivities, insights and intelligences around these texts and around the experiences they convey.
III. closure, disclosure

“I assert to begin with, that ‘disease’ does not exist. It is therefore illusory to think that one can ‘develop beliefs’ about it to ‘respond’ to it. What does exist is not disease but practices.” Thus begins François Delaporte’s investigation of the 1832 cholera epidemic in Paris. It is a statement we may find difficult to swallow, as we witness the ravages of AIDS in the bodies of our friends, our lovers, and ourselves. But it is nevertheless crucial to our understanding of AIDS because it shatters the myth so central to liberal views of the epidemic: that there are, on the one hand, the scientific facts about AIDS and, on the other hand, ignorance. I will therefore follow Delaporte’s assertion: AIDS does not exist apart from the practices that conceptualize it, represent it, and respond to it. We know AIDS only in and through those practices. This assertion does not contest the existence of viruses, antibodies, infections, or transmission routes. Least of all does it contest the reality of illness, suffering, and death. What it does contest is the notion that there is an underlying reality of AIDS, upon which are constructed the representations, or the culture, or the politics of AIDS. If we recognize that AIDS exists only in and through these constructions, then hopefully we can also recognize the imperative to know them, analyze them, and wrest control of them.

“AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism” Douglas Crimp. October 43

There has been a great number of works of art, and it seems above all in video, which have responded to the collective agon of AIDS: quiet and unflinching personal documents of love and devastation, such as Silver Lake Life, works which have responded to public images of AIDS and attempted to undo the damage such as John Greyson’s, records of incandescent rage and insight such as the work of David Wojnarowicz. I cannot even begin to suggest the range, nor would I pretend to be capable of it. What I think I can say is that, in this and in his previous works that have made an address to the pandemic, Yann Beauvais has taken a different route from others I know. He has given us its aspect as an inscription: in the way that text enters social discourse and personal consciousness, in the way graffiti may be written on a wall, in the way a needle and ink may create designs under the skin, and in the way Kaposi Sarcoma may inscribe its lurid presence. And he has provided us with models for its disincription and reinscription in a higher form of critical awareness.

We begin with 10 seconds of silence and darkness. The title fades up: “Tu, Sempre”-You, always-like a phrase from one of the ubiquitous Italian pop songs that form part of the everyday soundscape of Paris. It lingers a while then fades to black. In black, a series of low slow notes on an organ begin. Then the first installment of what seems like an unending stream of text starts to make it way across our field of vision:

My body feels like a third person in the room, my mind is a second person, my friend a second person, the doctor absolutely necessary.

This text disappears into black and the drone, like the distant hum of propellers-which will form the sonic ground of the piece-begins. Though this text disappears, it leaves an indelible impression on us. We have already begun to feel a very particular kind of fragmentation, a peculiar distance from our bodies. We become witness to the motions of these texts and at the same time to the motions of our own minds as we encounter them, parse them, lose them. We are overwhelmed. We are swimming against the tide. We can snatch only partial and fleeting impressions of some larger whole, the outline of which remains always beyond our grasp. Each is a part of some familiar yet arcane construction of the world. We return always to that “Tu, sempre” that second person, the mind which witnesses the spectacle of our interiority as it has been socially determined.

We have entered the world of HIV, of AIDS as it has been constructed, as a social textuality, which is nonetheless an inscription upon our bodies and our minds-as if there could ever be a discernible difference. The challenge, as Douglas Crimp underscores is that “If we recognize that AIDS exists only in and through these constructions, then hopefully we can also recognize the imperative to know them, analyze them, and wrest control of them.” “Imperative” is the key word here.

Tu, Sempre reminds us that the challenge is daunting as it is urgent. At every moment, we run the risk of being overwhelmed by the unrelenting assault on our very subjecthood. We grasp for hope, gasp for hope, but hope is in short supply. We must each struggle to form a radical subjectivity in the midst of such profound interior assault. The experience of a single viewing can be dizzying, and each successive viewing remains vertiginous, but the possibility exists that even if we cannot entirely master our vertigo, we can come to realize it as an aspect of our condition. The drone and confusion of voices can become a sign of the presence of other minds as much as the index of solitary consciousness alone.

In Tu, Sempre, we travel the distance from the recognition that Silence = Death to the insight that Voice does not necessarily equal life. And while death represents a form of closure we must all confront, in discourse, epistemological closure, formal closure, semantic closure are all dead ends for the subject in the midst of AIDS. No work can be perpetual in its longevity, its structure, or in the attention we devote to it. A digital video work participates in these limitations, whether it loops or not. Whether the titles and credits of a work merely bracket its chronological expanse, or measure the space from one electronic pattern to another, whether they delimit the telling of a story, or a phenomenological experience of time, they are subject to this limitation. This work takes on the task of signaling to us something beyond itself, beyond the so-called “real world,”or rather alluding, without mystification, to the complexity of the patterns of the ungraspable fabrics out of which we fashion the textures of the “real.”

IV The age of digital reproducibility

“Fiat ars-pereat mundus,” says fascism, expecting from war, as Marinetti admits, the artistic gratification of a sense perception altered by technology. This is evidently the consummation of l’art pour l’art. Humankind, which once, in Homer, was an object of contemplation for the Olympian gods, has now become one for itself. Its self-alienation has reached the point where it can experience its own annihilation as a supreme aesthetic pleasure. Such is the aestheticizing of politics, as practiced by fascism. Communism replies by politicizing art.

“The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” (3rd version)
Walter Benjamin

HIV/AIDS has been a significant factor for many of these racist formations and has informed both national-popular politics and policy involving African migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, settlers and EC nationals.

Woman is traditionally seen as “other”, she is defined as “not-man”, and this is particularly clear in the context of AIDS. The body becomes the contested territory of AIDS, and for women, the ever-corporal sex, the body overwhelms the individual. Male HIV risk is based on behavior, what he does with his body; by contrast for woman it is who she is, not what she does. She is a dangerous body, defined by her gynecology: the womb and the vagina.

et d’ailleurs ce sont eux les pédés qui ont combattu et combattent encore pour que les autres cessent d’ignorer ma présence en Afrique, comme ce sont eux les pédés qui ont combattu et combattent encore pour que les autres cessent d’ignorer le sida de ceux qui ne sont pas eux: le sida des prissoniers, le sida des toxicomanes, le sida des “étrangers en situation irrégulière” expression faisant partie du vocabulaire que les autres en parfaite complicité avec “la vie” inventent chaque jour afin d’humilier davantage ceux qui ne leur ressemblent pas et de leur ôter toute existence

Plus d’un million de Chinois avec un sida déclaré merci le commerce du sang

branding
marquer au fer rouge

AIDS IS NOT ABOUT DEATH. IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE LIVING WITH AIDS. This is bullshit. I understand the concerns about media and how it has manipulated images which can affect public perceptions and funding for research and health care. But AIDS is not just asymptomatic muscle boys and kick boxing dykes leading the public against this virus. Those of us dealing with manifestations of this virus need room to embrace and look at the very real possibility of Death. Having seen many friends go through horrifying illness and dies, having fevers and night sweats for the last two months, feeling horrible and fragmented, I demanded that we don’t slip into denial about Death as an aspect of AIDS

Germany saw a 33 percent rise in HIV cases last year, the first increase in five years. Seven hundred and fifty new infections were recorded, 51 percent of them among gay and gays and bisexuals. Many developed nations are reporting stepped up HIV transmission. Health officials have blamed safe-sex fatigue ? and deliberate ‘barebacking’ among gay men for some of the increase.

Barebaking has become so popular in the gay community that personal ads in gay papers and user profiles in AOL state barebacking only and no condoms. Barebaking is becoming the norm and condom use is the exception and uncoool. Protected oral sex is unheard of.

We know that Silence Equals Death, but we have just recently realized that Voice does not equal Life.

On ne peut combattre cette maladie sans soutenir directement ceux qui la vivent. (…) Un dicton africain me semble d’une grande pertinence: “On regarde dans la direction de celui qui nous prête ses yeux.” Doit-on pour autant aller dans le sens des bailleurs de fonds dès lors qu’ils apparaissent en contradiction avec les valeurs des personnes qui vivent avec la maladie.

Brazil’s decision will make it the first country to violate the patent of an anti-Aids drug and represent[s] an aggressive move in the developing world’s battle cheaper prices. Brazil has been one of the strongest voices in the developing world in the fight for cheaper prices and has threatened pharmaceutical multinationals that it would break their patents. The pressure work with Merck Sharp & Dohme, which agreed in March to reduce the price of Efavirenz, another drug in the anti-Aids cocktail, by 64%.

Given the multiple levels and domains of power relations implicated in AIDS discourse, no system or situation can ever be compared by simple analogy to the next, or totalize by structural analysis. It is hazardous indeed to seek a single logic underlying AIDS discourse or policy decisions.

There is no single universal educational answer to the challenges of HIV/AIDS prevention, and demands for simple transcultural solutions are themselves symptoms of a naïve globalism which has its political roots elsewhere in contemporary Leftist theory. Hence the continuing importance of repeating that there is no single, unified, global epidemic. Rather, as has long been apparent to those working in this field, there are distinctly different epidemics within any given country, moving at different speeds within different sections of the population, in relation to different modes of transmission, and different degrees and types of prevention work.

I want to write about KS. I haven’t really written about what I like now. I have a new skin. I have a new identity. They are not the same, but they do on occasion converge, even eclipse one another. …/… I’m looking at my arm and I don’t trust what I just said. There is a geometry to this, a poetry too. If I didn’tknow it was cancer and AIDS I’d say my arm-my right arm-is interesting, attractive. The spots are grayish, purplish, a light eggplant, mauve-a combination… I’m that sick. I could die that soon.

V writing: painting

SOCRATES: You know, Phaedrus, that’s the strange thing about writing, which makes it truly analogous to painting. The painter’s products stand before us as though they were alive, but it you question them, they maintain a most majestic silence. It is the same with written words: they seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you just the same thing forever. And once a thing is put in writing, the composition, whatever it may be, drifts all over the place, getting into the hands not only of those who understand it, but equally of those who have no business with it: it doesn’t know how to address the right people, and not address the wrong. And when it is ill treated and unfairly abused it always needs its parent to come to its help, being unable to defend or help itself.

PHAEDRUS: Once again you are perfectly right.

(Phaedrus, 275 d-e. trans. R. Hackforth, 1952, Cambridge University Press)

Collection : Espace Multimédia Gantner

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