Archives du mot-clé women

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

Visit Thomas Köner’s website

About AIDS, see Act Up

 

Tu, sempre #

2002, béta, coul, sonore, 38’
2005, minidv, coul sonore version #6 41’
2007, minidv, coul sonore version japonaise
2008, minidv, coul sonore version #8 espagnole, 35’30                                                                     2012, minidv, cooul, sound, vrsão portugês # 11, 10’40

tu sempre  6 lignes

Version mono bande de l’installation du même nom. La bande interroge les représentations du sida depuis 20 ans. Cette bande perpétue le travail amorcée dansSID A IDS et Still Life, tout en le renouvelant dans la mesure ou la question du politique et des politiques vis à vis du VIH se sont transformés depuis ces travaux antérieurs. Le territoire de l’activisme s’est lui aussi déplacé. La perception de la bande simple transforme le rapport aux textes et aux sons dans la mesure ou la fragmentation, la dispersion, la diffusion visuelle des textes ne se manifestent pas du tout de la même manière. On se retrouve dans une linéarité que l’installation ou la performance brise. Dans ce cas c’est l’accumulation des informations autant que leur diversité qui façonnent la perception que vient contrecarrer la bande-son de Thomas Köner, dans laquelle s’impose la figure du récitant comme convoyeur/générateur/distributeur de sens.

Visiter le site de Thomas Köner

Sur la question du sida, voir Act Up.
http://www.pantheresroses.org/
Voir l’installation relative à ce film ou la performance

texte arabe et italien

Single channel version of an installation. The tape investigates representation of Aids since 20 years. This work renew what I was dealing with SID A IDS and Still Life, in the sense that the political issues as much as the policies toward aids have been in constant transformation since these works were done. Activism has also gone through radical transformation, displaced.
The perception of this work as single channel tape modified the relations one has with texts, sounds when they don’t collide with the space, when the text don’t exceed the screen and abolish to a certain extend the fragmentation. One is facing a linearity that was not present within the installation. The perception of the single channel is establish through accumulation text as image which are counterbalanced by the sound work of Thomas Köner, in which the figure of a teller conveys meaning.

3 lignes, 1 inversée

 

- Visit Thomas Köner http://www.koener.de/
- About Aids, see Act Up
- http://www.actupny.org/
- http://www.pantheresroses.org/

 

Comme un air, ou le cinéma d’Anna Thew (Fr)

Comme un air, ou le cinéma d’Anna Thew

Envisager la pratique cinématographique d’Anna Thew c’est faire état d’une pratique plurielle. C’est à la fin des années 70 qu’elle investit ce médium à partir d’installations et de performances. A cette époque, le cinéma expérimental britannique est dominé par l’école structurelle matérialiste qui interroge la spécificité du médium et surtout de sa matérialité, que le travail du film en tant que film découle. Cette appréhension du fait que le sens du film dépend de la matérialité plus que des formes de représentations illusionnistes. Ce cinéma pour de nouvelles générations de cinéastes se comprenait comme ascète, formel mais surtout il proposait une approche qui se situait dans la lignée moderniste et était avant tout une affaire d’homme. Ce qui ne veut pas dire que des femmes en étaient exclues loin s’en faut. Mais le réductionnisme des propositions, autant que, l’esthétique déployée affiliait cet usage du cinéma à ce groupe dominant.

Le travail sur, autour de la narration, le travail sur des formes plus linéaires, qui recourraient à l’expressivité, était relativement banni de ce champ. Cependant, c’est des le milieu des années 70, que le féminisme[1] remet en théoriquement en question ce regard et cet usage du cinéma, et favorise en contrepoint  un retour à des formes plus éclatées, propices à d’autres sensibilités et différences.

C’est à cette même époque, que la dame de fer prend le pouvoir en Angleterre et transforme de manière radicale le champ social et politique, qui déclenchent dans le champ des arts et de la culture des contre-feux, des activismes. C’est à partir de contexte qu’il faut appréhender le travail d’Anna Thew.

Plusieurs fils nous permettent d’entrer dans l’univers de la cinéaste, parmi ceux ci on retrouve une affirmation partagée par plusieurs cinéastes de sa génération à savoir l’usage du super 8, c’est à dire un petit format, sans qualité, commun et partagé. Un format qui s’écarte des formats plus installés dans l’industrie autant que dans le cinéma expérimental des années 70. Elle ne se limite pas à ce format, mais celui–ci, est l’outil qui favorise les captures journalières autant que pour la préparation d’étude singulière, qui se déploieront sous la forme de multi-écrans. Le super 8 permet de « collecter des images pour les journaux mais seulement, il peut servir avant tout à la collecte, il permet de regarder de la même manière que le permet le dessin et la peinture, mais à la différence que cela se meut»

« Super 8 lends itself to collecting, diary images, but sometimes it is not diary but gathering, looking, in the same way as though you drew or painted things only this is moving ».

Utiliser ce format c’est affirmer incidemment un aspect pictural du format, les couleurs du kodachrome, le grain mais aussi la maniabilité. Le recours à ce format entraîne chez la cinéaste comme chez bien d’autres (Téo Hernandez, Derek Jarman, Cordelia Swann, pour n’en citer que quelques uns) une affirmation du corps par ses gestes. La capture rapide, les changements de rythme, la pulsation des syncopes se retrouvent dans plusieurs films Shadow Film (1983), Ramblas Idiomas (1987), Tivoli Films (1988), Train Desden Berlin (1994). Remarquons que ces super 8, seront recycler pour devenir d’autres films, mais à la différence de nombres de cinéastes on ne découvrira ces films sources que plus tard, alors que les travaux secondaires dont ils procèdent ont été vue antérieurement.

Cette manière de filmer qui n’en privilégie pas une plus qu’une autre qui affirme les filés, les passages images par images comme les pauses démontrent une grande liberté vis-à-vis de l’outil et inscrit pour la cinéaste la nécessité de saisir de l’instrument à des fins expressives. Étrangement, dans ces films, la cinéaste partage avec Marie Menken cette manière de saisir en guirlandes de photogrammes la beauté évanescente d’un jardin au fil du jour et des saisons (Morning Garden Blackbird 1984), tout comme elle se ressaisit de l’univers du jardin de Tivoli, en un hommage à Kenneth Anger, mais ici ce sont les plans qu’elle fait des fontaines et jardins qui évoquent le film. Ce n’est pas le paysage même, mais sa représentation qui est l’objet privilégié.  Ainsi dans Morning Garden Blackbird, le double écran oppose fréquemment les saisons l’une au-dessus de l’autre autant que les plans d’arbres en fleurs de l’écran supérieur alors que l’écran inférieur nous montre le même jardin selon d’autres angles l’hiver ou à une autre saison. La juxtaposition verticale de deux écrans renvoie non seulement à une fenêtre donnant sur un jardin, mais aussi au format d’une peinture. Elle se distingue des multiples horizontaux que la cinéaste utilise pour Broken Pieces for the co-op (2001), ou Train Pieces, et qui travaillent plus sur les déphasages, la séparation et la jonction afin de constituer ponctuellement une apparente image unique.  Dans Morning Garden Blackbird la représentation doublée qui ne produit jamais une seule image,  l’image défie sans cesse l’unicité, au profit d’une instabilité construite par emboîtements successifs, que le son des oiseaux et du trafic et les cris lointains empêchent de s’effondrer. Le son pose alors l’image dépassant la seule illustration par son intensité.

Cette capacité à faire surgir de nouvelles associations, d’autres scènes à partir de quelques plans ou de quelques voix, semble relever d’un art du collage, qui ne privilégierait pas le rapport matériel entre les choses selon des critères de ressemblance ou d’analogies mais leurs juxtapositions selon des principes qui relèvent plus de la collision et de la collusion, proche en ce sens du cadavre exquis. Ces associations fonctionnent à la manière de ponts entre des rives distinctes du cinéma.

C’est dans ce sens que l’on doit comprendre le jeu avec les langues qui hantent le cinéma d’Anna Thew. Le langage habite le film comme le fait la peinture, mais si la peinture se retrouve dans des effets visuels qui sont en relation avec la surimpression de couches d’éléments divers ( voir LFMC Demolition 2000 ou Broken Pieces) on la retrouve aussi dans des mises en scènes de séquences dans les films plus narratifs , dans leur théâtralisation quand bien même celle ci fonctionne selon des principes brechtiens comme avec Hilda was a Goodlooker 1986,  Eros Erosion 1990, Cling Film 1993).

Le langage sous toutes ces formes est envisagé comme un élément essentiel du cinéma d’Anna Thew qu’il se présente sous la forme de son ou comme signe graphique. Le mot et la langue – mais on devrait parler de langues- contaminent tous les éléments du film. Mais si la langue envahit l’espace du film, elle le fait de manière singulière. Nous ne sommes jamais en présence d’une voix qui emplirait et donnerait à l’image son sens. Rares sont les moments ou une voix domine, hormis avec les interviews de Steve ou la voix de la mère dans Hilda. La voix est toujours plurielle et fonctionne selon une polyphonie classique telle celles des fugues de Jean Sébastien Bach. La voix-off désincarnée, n’est pas le son synchrone du corps que l’on voit, elle est là pour se donner à entendre. Avec Hilda, l’expérience du film, privilégie l’écoute, comme le fait à sa manière Su Friedrich, dans Sink or Swim à travers les récits d’une enfance.   La délivrance fragmentée des récits favorise l’écoute, les images du film sont alors des fragments supplémentaires qui viennent souligner, infirmer ou abonder dans le sens de la voix. Le recours à la théâtralisation des scènes pour illustrant des souvenirs ne souligne pas seulement la distance dans la reconstitution proposée,de plus  elles sont souvent à contretemps. La vision d’un jeune homme en marin n’est pas synchrone avec l’évocation du souvenir lui correspondant. Ce jeu avec les écarts nourrit le film. Ces écarts de la voix et du texte, entre l’énoncé et son référent permettent de faire surgir une sensualité, parfois une volupté que le simple souvenir oral ne faisait qu’indiquer.  Cette distance entre les différents textes, ou entre le mot et sa graphie ou la tonalité de sa profération nous fait goûter aux dissonances et indique un rapport possible avec le multi écran.

Le travail du son se distingue chez Anna Thew par la multiplicité des langues parlées, chantées, écrites. Cette multiplicité met en évidence la singularité de chacune de ces langues, leur scansion, leur dynamique et poétique. Cette rencontre des langues, dans le corps du film, qu’ils s’agissent de l’italien, de l’allemand ou du français interroge du même coup l’insularité de la langue dominante : l’anglais devient une langue parmi d’autres. La cinéaste se dit à travers cette polyphonie, la version originale est par conséquent plurielle, à la manière des musiques et les films à partir desquels elle composent ses œuvres. Chaque film se nourrit des lieux, des villes que la cinéaste parcourt, des souvenirs, des hommes, de ses désirs qu’elle enregistre de manière distincte et qu’elle assemble en des mosaïques qui n’abolissent pas les raccords, rajouts, ou éraflures. Il faut comprendre le film comme un corps, et par conséquent l’entendre comme malléable, se transformant incessamment. Ce renouvellement constant se dévoile dans les films d’Anna Thew dans le recyclage de séquence d’un film à l’autre. Cet usage travaille la notion de motifs autant qu’elle est un élément rythmique qui permet d’envisager ses films comme des poèmes cinématographiques qui à partir d’une expérience individuelle et s’échappent pour s’ouvrir à d’autres chants. En ce sens son travail partage avec celui d’Anne Rees-Mogg, pour lequel elle a une grande admiration[2], cette puissance d’évocation à partir de trois fois rien : une photo de famille, un accord de musique, concrétisant l’expérience du passé par le biais de l’expérience d’une conscience. Ainsi Berlin se voit dans plusieurs films super 8 et multi écrans, mais ce retrouve dans Hilda lors d’une scène de cabaret…

Cette conscience se met en scène comme chez bon nombre de cinéastes du « personnal cinéma ». Mais cette inclusion  renvoie plus certainement aux façonnages identitaires, et par conséquent fait signe par-delà les styles à Maya Deren. Jouer un rôle, mais aussi filmer et exprimer son corps au travers du filmage, sont deux attitudes que privilégie la cinéaste. La nuit, les identités sont moins définies, elles évoluent au fil des expériences, les rôles permettent de déjouer les codes, de s’en amuser, ainsi les scènes de cabaret et d’habillage avec des combinaisons de latex… Avec ces jeux de rôles Anna Thew s’engage au côté des cinéastes qui ont travaillé la question des minorités puis des genres. Ce surgissement de l’expressivité, du désir permet de travailler les inhibitions qui encombrent souvent les représentations sexuelles, surtout lorsqu’on les inscrit dans la contemporanéité du sida. Ainsi Cling Film (1993) travaille sur les inhibitions liées à la transmission hétérosexuelle qui fait qu’il est n’est pas jugé utile de promouvoir une campagne sensuelle du sexe sans risque (safe sex). Ce film s’inscrit dans une lignée de travaux d’activisme pour lesquels l’affirmation et la dénonciation n’écartent jamais la nécessité du plaisir, en coupant cours à tout le fatras moraliste et puritain pour lequel le sexe est chose bannie à la stricte nécessité reproductrice. Ce film  partage avec le « new queer cinéma [3]» cette mise en scène des corps, ce plaisir de filmer des corps désirants. On pense ici autant à certains films de Derek Jarman, Isaac Julian, pour lesquels la scénographie des corps, les références à la peinture manièriste ou à la peinture de genre tient lieu de stratégie afin de contaminer le cinéma avec d’autres propos.  Cling Film propose ainsi une série de vignettes qui tour à tour sont provocantes ou hilarantes (un night clubber qui bande mou à la vue d’une capote)… Des textes viennent se greffer et parasiter parfois les images à la manière de directives détournées. Ainsi au cœur du plaisir, la langue revient par la bande. Mais le plaisir n’est jamais loin, les corps se parent, se mettent en scène pour le plaisir, comme dans Cling Film, Steve Tattoo in the Spring, et Terra  Vernin (1998), mais aussi dans une autre mesure Mario Footage (1999) à partir de séquences refilmées de Mario Montez. Ces films travaillent la question des genres mais surtout la question du désir et de sa mise en scène, la caméra super 8 devient caresse, elle s’attarde sur les corps, tatouage, grain de la peau, pilosité légère…

Le travail du son, autant que le travail de l’image participe avant tout de la notion de collage. Mais on ne pourra parler à proprement parler d’une esthétique de found footage, tout d’abord parce que la majeur partie des films n’en sont pas issues mais aussi parce qu’à la manière de certains diaristes[4]e, Anna Thew recyclent ses propres images, les reconfigurant selon les projets mais aussi selon les présentations. Cette volonté de proposer à chaque fois un nouvel accrochage n’est pas sans rappeler le travail de l’interprète pour lequel chaque concert, performance ne peut se réduire à une stricte répétition. En ce sens une fois encore Anna Thew tente d’introduire et d’inscrire une expressivité du moment, quand bien les objets dont elle se sert se soient évaporés. Le travail du film alors s’inscrit comme un retour nostalgique.



[1] Voir le texte fondateur quant au cinéma narratif de Laura Mulvey : Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema paraît dans la revue Screen en 1974

[2] On se souvient de l’article qu’elle écrivit pour le directory of British Film & Video Artists  edited by David Curtis pour l’Arts Council of England, ICA londres 1988

[3] voir le New Queer Cinema confrence at the ICA london 1992,  voir How do I look ed by Bad Object-Choices 1991, et Queer Looks ed by Martha Gever, John Greyson Pratibha Parmar Routledge, NY 1993

[4] Je pense avant tout à Vivian Ostrovsky et à Derek Jarman.