Sous-ensemble

installation, 2015

installation (2015)

In a space similar as a recording studio, the presence of the visitors makes appear, one by one, the sounds of the instruments of a symphony orchestra during its tuning – until a complete reconstitution when a group is present. However, this warm-up never stops: the sound is held in a perpetual suspense, appearing and disappearing according to the visitor’s behaviors.

Created with the collaboration of the Lille National Orchestra. Engineering and artistic collaboration: Jean-Baptiste Droulers. Computer programming and spatialization: Mathieu Chamagne. Captation apparatus: Alexandre Saunier. Production: Bipolar – Mathieu Argaud. Executive production: SmartFR – illusion & macadam. Coproduction: Pictanovo Interactive Experiences Grant, Lille3000, Lille National Orchestra. With the support of Le Fresnoy, National Studio for Contemporary Arts and DICRéAM (CNC – Culture and Communication Ministry).

Orchestra photograph © Ugo Ponte 2015

Ghostwriter

series of 4 sound pieces

Série of 4 sound pieces, 2012
Bruno (30″), Heather (30″), Julie (30″), Senator (30″)
Radio creation for Festival Bouillants

Four synthetic voice play the same radio message and make it proliferate and rave with their own codes: erotic dream, political language, call center, American tourist.

Image: Heather, score.

Production : Festival Bouillants #4.

Open Source

installation, 2008-2011

Installation, 2008-2011

The installation is made up of an ellipse-shaped, shallow translucent basin of water, in front of which stands a multitouch interface. It enables the audience to draw a word or make a sketch directly with their hand, as if in the condensation on a window pane. Once a drawing is finished, it appears on the surface of the pool and drifts about with the others. The oldest sketches gradually fade out and make way for new ones.

Hotspot

installation, 2011

installation, 2011

The installation fills the entire exhibition space as well as exterior display surfaces. Crushed underfoot, glass debris smashes as spectators cross the exhibition floor. Amplified and distorted, these sounds are mixed with sound bytes from disaster films. Meanwhile, media coverage broadcasts breaking news and current affairs reports to the street outside, it too under surveillance via video and sound recordings, mapping, etc. A derisive theater of operations, the exhibition creates an interface between these worlds of observation and surveillance: inside and outside, mutually threatening, where the spectator is both observer and protagonist. The storytelling of fear in experimentation.

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Set-up

sound installation, 2011

Sound installation, 2010-2014

Set-up is a sound installation that gives orders to exhibition visitors, in the tone of service and security messages: “Everything’s going to be alright”, “Everybody down!”, “If you’re young, rebel against older people”, etc. Playing on the ambiguity between artwork and service messages, Setup suggests a fantasy of control of the spectators, to which the apparatus addresses itself, as if to visitors of an amusement park or an hostile environment.




The texts include quotations proposed by Jean-François Robardet.
Voice: Juliette Fontaine.

Fermata

installation, 2009

Installation, 2009

In a gallery’s window, a camera films the street. Its image is projected on a large screen behind it. As soon as one or more visitors enter the room, the video’s speed is disturbed by their movements and gestures. If the visitor stops, the image is frozen but a vibration, which reacts to the slightest gesture, lives on. While image and sound are frozen, the camera goes on recording the image of the street: if the visitor moves again, the video starts up again, speeded up, and becomes gradually synchronized with the real time outside. Passers-by see themselves in a mirror controlled by other observers, who are themselves part and parcel of the scene seen through the window. The illusion of a power over time becomes the springboard for a generalized loop of exhibition and collective interaction.

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Point d’orgue was created in 2009 within the frame of a residency at Kawenga (Montpellier, FR).

Frost

performance, 2008

Performance, 2008
Thierry Fournier (apparatus and performance) / Jean-François Robardet (sculpture and text). Part of the Outside lectures performances series.

The journey done by a performer with a microphone on a polystyrene sculpture, becomes the sound metaphore of a polar landscape and architecture. The sculpture faces a bass amplificator on which the microphone is plugged, at the limit of the feedback, its sound transformed by a program into grans, rumblings and cracklings. The sound is permanently modulated by the performer’s gesture who modulates and excites the resonances in the sculpture’s holes. A gesture and a dance result of these actions, searching a balance between motion, sound and protection against the sound threats of the apparatus.

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Photographs by Samuel Bianchini.

Ready mix

performance, 2008

Performance, 2008
Esther Salmona and Thierry Fournier – Series of performances Outside Lectures (Conferences du dehors)

The actress calls the artist Esther Salmona on the phone. Esther complies with a protocol which consists in changing nothing in her daily routine and answering the phonecall whatever her activity may be at the time. A few words are exchanged: Esther describes without any pause her immediate sensations and perceptions. Her voice is retransmitted through a loudspeaker. The dialogue echoes the actress activity: movements, questions, bonds between the acting space and the space of the other talking.

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Photographs by Frédéric Nauczyciel and Alexandre Nollet.

Residency

performance, 2008

performance, 2008
Series of performances Outside Lectures (Conférences du dehors) with Emmanuelle Lafon.

The circular motion of Febuary 21st 2006, voted by Interior Ministry of France, lays down the law on how to legally arrest conditions for illegal immigrants. Given they’re under arrest only on the outside, it thus legislates on what may be considered as a domicile or not: courtyard, yacht, operating theatre… A videoprojection displays the text of the circular motion like credits at the end of a blockbuster film, with its typical music. The performer faces the projection and repeats the text. Her behavior changes progressively, transforming itself towards an attack of the apparatus. The whole situation points out the warlike fiction suggested by the text, which gradually contaminates the performer’s mind, to the point of an extreme violence.

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Residency starts with the music of an American war film, all brass and drum rolling, that could be Independence Day or Medal of Honor: a ceremony stirring patriotic fictions from their slumber.

The set-up including laptop, amplifier and videoprojector starts up by itself, blasting out the music and projecting an image, a recording of the performance room itself. The performer comes closer, and finds themself faced with a screen, a teleprompter, and so takes the microphone and begins to read the scrolling text. Their face appears as a close-up on the videoprojection, the camera’s point of view is that of a computer filming its user—except that the face is entirely pixellated, like the privacy protection used on TV talk-shows.

The scrolling text also appears on the video projection, superimposed on the face, at the same time as it appears on the teleprompter’s screen. It’s made up of excerpts from the ministerial circular released on February 21st 2006 by the Interior Ministry, detailing the conditions of legal arrest for foreigners in breach of national borders and migration laws, stipulating the steps necessary to effect apprehension “on public streets, at government or police shopfronts, at home or within housing complexes.” (Circular NOR : JUSD0630020C – Crom.06.5/E1-21.02.2006).

Given that most such arrests are to take place outside, this circular is distinct in that it therefore legislates on all spaces considered to be a dwelling or not: apartment, building corridor, pleasure craft (yacht), abode destroyed by fire, operating theater, etc. It’s in this sense that excerpts were selected to underline this distinctness.

The performer thus carries out their reading of the text, in a literally “closed circuit” arrangement, as if the whole set up—composed of computer, microphone, amplifier and projector—composed all of the content, its transformation and its very own fiction. The text is processed like the opening credits to a blockbuster that might have stimulated its author’s imagination; it progressively contaminates the performer to the point of extreme violence. The actress’ voice slowly deepens and lowers as the text lists the possible arrest locations, and the calm balance is broken when, with a monstrous Darth Vader voice, she literally attacks the amplifier with the microphone, the audio feedback creating extremely violent sounds of fragging and explosion. After a short, intense attack, the music leaves the fields of battle to take on characteristics befitting redemption, that telltale register of a war film finale, and the spoken delivery of the circular ends with its two last moments: the statement that an operating theater is an acceptable location of arrest, and the list of administrative recipients for the circular.

Outside lectures

series of 7 performances, 2008

Series of 7 performances and curating, 2008
With Emmanuelle Lafon

These seven performances were created with five invited artists: David Beytelmann, Juliette Fontaine, Noëlle Renaude, Jean-François Robardet and Esther Salmona. Each of them adresses a relation to an outside, by the way of a specific protocol and apparatus : following a TV flow word by word (Close Circuit), interview about immigration with a french/argentinian philosopher, absurd lecture about homeless people, landscape described in real time thru the phone, sonic simulation of a catastrophe (Frost), etc. The performer and the audience share the same space, in a global apparatus that is reconfigured for each venue.

This “theatre of operations” is part and parcel of an overall approach questioning the relations between writing, visual arts and performance: apparatus, relations with the audience, critical choice of performance venues.

The series Outside Lectures is composed by the performances: Closed circuit, Foreign Office (guest author David Beytelmann), The Right Distance (guest author Noëlle Renaude), Ready mix (with Esther Salmona), Residency, Frost (with Jean-François Robardet), Sentinel (guest artist Juliette Fontaine).

Closed circuit, performance, with Emmanuelle Lafon, Lelabo, Paris, 2007

Photographs by Frédéric Nauczyciel and Alexandre Nollet.

Feedbackroom

installation, 2007

Interactive installation, 2007

Surrounded by a white blinking light, a microphone is placed on a stand, at the center of a complete dark room. As the visitors enter the room, bold and saturated feedbacks began to appear, reacting to their slightest movements, and increasing strongly as they approach the microphone. Each gesture modulates the sound, provoking for the visitors an increasing perception of their own body, as well as the sensation that a dangerous living thing is haunting the stage. The only visible forms are white, vibrating and pixellized shadows projected on the floor, around the microphone and around every spectator getting in the space. These pixelated forms are the negative shapes of the visitor’s camera caption from the ceiling: literally, they are the generators of the sound.

In this dark electric atmosphere that evokes punk music and science fiction, the visitors become both the instigators and the “willing victims” of a wild phenomenon that eludes them: a paradoxal situation of fear, self-exhibition and play.

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Coproduction Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Nancy / Atelier de recherche et création Electroshop / Alliance Artem. A documentary film about Feedbackroom has been released in DVD by Éditions du Point d’exclamation and Éditions du Parc / ENSA Nancy, 2009.

Siren

installation, 2005-2010

Installation, 2005-2010
Samuel Bianchini and Thierry Fournier
with the voice of Maryseult Wieczoreck

A white dot on a black screen is following the spectator movements while he/she is using a computer mouse in front of it. Without activity, the installation diffuses the sound of human breath, barely audible. When the dot moves, the voice of a woman appears: static, then beginning to grow and increasing rapidly with the hand actioning the mouse. As the spectator’s gesture develops or focuses on a point, speeding up or slowing down, the sound unfolds and develops itself. The voice shifts from breathing to whispering, from singing to shouting, from the tiniest details to burgeoning vocals. The voice is reacting to the gesture and requests it. The sound gradually gives a shape to an acoustic body that reveals itself through the tactile exploration – although its interpretation remains offered to the audience.

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Stories Machine

sound installation, 2004

Sound installation, 2004
Objects design: Zarko
Landscape design: Pascale Langrand and François Schelameur

The Garden of the Navel is a collective project based on an imaginary mythology that ironically names Pougne-Hérisson (a hamlet of 200 inhabitants) as the homeland of tales, where “all stories come from, and where they should come back”. The Stories Machine is an interactive sound installation which composes a soundscape with the stories that the visitors leave themselves. Several microphones are placed in the garden, in which visitors are invited to leave a story of their own, lasting anything from a few seconds to a few minutes, that will then be stored by the installation. As soon as it has been recorded, each story lives its own life and occupies the space. The lifetime of a story is unlimited: it is always heard immediately after it has been recorded, but it may reappear weeks or months later. The space of the Garden develops and grows with time: it is nurtured, visited and searched by the visitors themselves, like a talking landscape, organic and unpredictable.

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To Agrippine

music piece and performance, 2004

music piece and performance, 2004
Duration 12′. With the voices of Hiromi Asaï and Véronique Gens.

Performed as a solo piece on laptop, To Agrippine is based on the very beginning of Handel’s opera Agrippina. It experiments a situation of time depth: a real time navigation through the temporality of music. An extremely slow gesture produces a simultaneous navigation through three musical layers: the first orchestral part of the opera overture, the first spoken sentence in the recitatives, and the first soprano aria. This slow-motion movement within the musical materials reveals their lines of forces and details, as the aerial approach to a landscape.

Excerpt:

Photograph by Frédéric Nauczyciel.

Ping-pong

music piece, 2003

Music piece, 2003
Juliette Fontaine and Thierry Fournier

Ping-pong has been composed through a process of sound exchange with Juliette Fontaine. The instrumental apparatus is composed by a laptop and an analog filter bank. Every gesture of the performer is recorded in real time and re-injected into the composition loop.

Electric Bodyland

sound installation, 2003

sound installation, 2003

Electric Bodyland is an interactive sound installation. Each movement of the spectators generates a navigation within an electronic musical piece which is composed, mixed and spatialized in real time. Individually or collectively, the spectators play their own composition of a sound sculpture which is to be explored continuously, from the inside and in an empty space.

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Created in the frame of a residency at the Synthese Festival 2003.

Sweetest Love

film music, 2002

Musical piece (3 male voices and electronics), 2002
Composed for the feature film Ce qu’ils imaginent by Anne Théron

Sweetest Love has been composed on three poems by John Donne, the 16th-17th century poet and philosopher, a contemporary of Shakespeare (Song, Women’s constancy, A fever). Written for three male voices (tenor, baritone, bass) and real time electronics, the piece alternates solos and trios, with a cappella and electronic sections. It explores the most fragile register for each voice, while every section is written in the same tessitura for the three singers. This required a very special care and work on tonality for the singers. The electronics are mostly based on pulsations and oscillations. The electronic relation with the voices becomes principally organic, evoking both solitude and the constant presence of the body.

Excerpts:



Sweetest Love has been composed for the feature film Ce qu’ils imaginent, by Anne Théron with Marie Trintignant, Marc Barbé, Aurélien Wik, Anne Cantineau, Julie Gayet. Performers: Jean-François Chiama (tenor), Jean-Christophe Jacques (baryton), Jean-Loup Pagésy (basse), Thierry Fournier (electronics).

Architecture of Paradise

music for an installation, 2000

Musical piece (4 voices and electronics) for an installation by Marie Sester, 2000

Architecture of Paradise is a five section piece for 4 vocal soloists and electronics, created within Marie Sester’s installation presented at the SFMOMA in 2000. The piece is based on excerpts of Plato’s Timeus-Critias, which describes the role and story of Atlantis. The text is sung in its English version, by the soprano and alto. It is read in English and French by the two actresses. Beyond its original context, it evokes the concept of an ideal city, and its consequences in matters of political domination – considerations which remain absolutely topical. The piece develops a circular tension between several parts: the soprano-alto duo, the intimate reading of the text by the actresses, the electronics (oscillations, filters and saturations) and the real time transformations of the voices.

Excerpts:


Image © Marie Sester 2000. Performers: Armelle Orieux (mezzo-soprano) Laura Gordiani (alto), Vanda Benes et Lyndee Mah (spoken voices).

The Moult of the angel

online dance performance, 2001

Online dance performance, 2001
Isabelle Choiniere and Thierry Fournier

The Moulting Angel is a live and online performance, in which two dancers interact in two distant places, exchanging music and images generated by their movements. The project explores the projections and transformations of the body through a network. Each site performs a mix of both interventions in a constant dialogue. The musical generation is based on a set of microphones, explored in various directions (gestural capture, sound recording, relationship between space and body, etc.).

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Core

musical piece and performance, 2000

Musical piece and performance, 2000
With the voice of Alyson Wishnousky

Core was composed after an interview with the Canadian dancer and performer Alyson Wishnousky, talking about her sensation during movement and dance. The composition of the piece is written like a counterpoint between spoken voice and electronics: vibration and momentum, changes from stillness to movement, phases of keeping and losing control, in the very substance of the music. The piece is very gestural, where the interplay with the computer and the analog filters plays an important part in the concert.

(…) it’s all about time and movement and space they all form the same patterns together at the same time so it makes the heart beat faster and the breath speed up and the body warm up and it generates heat like fire so thats where the movement and gestures relate (…) its all about air and breath and breath generates life and allows more space opens up more space in the body in the pores enters air and water and fire they mingle a continuous spiralling of the spine spiral waves waves continuous waves (…)

Extracts :


Photograph: performance with Emmanuel Berriet, ISEA / Divan du monde, 2000

The Nibelungen Treasure

installation, with E. Berriet & O. Auber, 2000

Interactive installation, 2000
Olivier Auber, Emmanuel Berriet, Thierry Fournier
Performers: Armelle Orieux (soprano), Laura Gordiani (alto), Jean-François Chiama (tenor), Eric Guillermin (bass).

The Nibelungen Treasure is based on the medieval text of the Nibelungen Lied and the myth it has become: an invisible monument in the german history and in the city of Worms, where the Lied takes place. Visitors entering the installation see the city of Worms from underneath, as if the ground were transparent. Beneath their feet, the bottom of the world stretches into infinity like an impossible chaos. In this space, between the town and the bottom of the world, the imaginary space of the myth develops itself.The visitor moves intuitively in this space, as if he were floating, by means of a circular joystick that he can manipulate in all directions. All the visual and musical elements are generated in real time, in relation to the visitor’s movements on the interface. The spectators influences the content and the form of the score, and the way its parts link and mix. The instrumental gesture of the spectator leads into an experience of time: a continuous circulation in the inner matter and construction of music. The music and soundtrack of the whole museum has been also created within the same project.

Video documentation:

Musical excerpts:






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