Only Richard

Installation and film, 2018
Video (1:2.35 format, color, stereo sound, 1h40, loop), sound projection, dance floor, robotic arm, computer and program, wood, canvas, aluminum, 600 x 600 x 215 cm

The installation Only Richard is adapted from Richard II by William Shakespeare, who describes a king whose conviction to escape the laws of reality by his divine nature leads him to destitution and death. Richard here takes the form of a large robotic arm which dialogues on a set with a film including all the other characters – at the same time as he manipulates it: frame, blur, speed… Richard’s voice is interpreted by actress Emmanuelle Lafon.

The film was shot in a garden and a forest, with three actors and ten amateurs, mostly women. They face a subjective camera that is like Richard’s eye – replayed in the installation by the robot’s gestures. A confrontation then unfolds between the power and the people, the machine and the living, the divine and the profane. The project address multiple questions about power, technique and politics, gender, presence and absence in the world.

Video excerpts:

Credits

Translation: François-Victor Hugo (1872). Adaptation and direction of play Thierry Fournier and Jean-François Robardet. Performers: Emmanuelle Lafon (Richard’s voice), Pierre Carniaux, Eloïse Chabbal, Aurélie Claude, Charles Gonin, Mathieu Guigue, Sophie Jaskierowicz, Marianne Kaldi, Emilie Legret, Alexia Mérel, Claire Moindrot, Judith Morisseau, Tram Ahn Ngô, Sandrine Nicolas. Installation’s design with Jean-Baptiste Droulers, in dialogue with the Fresnoy, programming Etienne Landon and Mathieu Chamagne, sound editing and mixing with Marie Léon. Film production (2008-2009): Pandore Production, Ensad Nancy (Electroshop research and creation workshop), with the support of the Lorraine Region, the Chartreuse-CNES and the Dicréam / CNC. Production of the installation (2018) : Le Fresnoy – National Studio for Contemporary Arts.

Acknowledgements

L’Arcal Lyrique, Julien Arnaud, Avant-Rue Friche Théâtre, Franck Bauchard, Jean-François Chiama, Grégory Diguet and Bipolar, l’Ensemble Atopique, Juliette Fontaine, Antonio Guzman, Mains d’Œuvres, Florence March, Daniel Migairou, Giuseppe Molino, Frédérique Payn, Olga Pitarch, Benoît Résillot, Jean-François Robardet, le Studio-Théâtre de Vitry, Alain Fleischer, Eric Prigent and the whole Fresnoy team.

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.

The right distance

performance, 2008

Performance, 2008
Text Noëlle Renaude / performance direction Thierry Fournier – Series of performances Outside Lectures

The Right Distance takes the form of a lecture, developing a wordy discourse by an unknown speaker about a person met in the subway, with laces holding his shoes together, and endlessly repeating the sentence: “I’ve got nothing to eat”. Deliberately ambiguous between a marketing course for the homeless and a semiological discourse, the work opens a questioning about the violence of language.

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Photographs by Frédéric Nauczyciel and Alexandre Nollet.

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.

Closed Circuit

performance, 2008

Performance, 2007
Part of the Outside Lectures performances series.

Seated with headphones in front of a TV during the commercial break and the evening news, Lafon must respect a certain protocol that demands that she exhaustively repeat everything she hears and describe everything she sees, which is physically impossible. The flow of speech and resulting stuttering directly express the tension between the spew of information that is delivered and a saturated individual attention span.

Video documentation:

Recording, October 25th 2008 – TF1 live 7:50 to 8:03 pm

Photograph by Frédéric Nauczyciel

The Screens

music and sound installation for the theater, 2002

Original title : Les Paravents
Music and sound installation for the theater
Les Paravents by Jean Genet / Stage direction Frédéric Fisbach, 2002

Monstruous theater play taking place during the algerian war, involving 96 characters, many parallel narrations and simultaneous scenes, The Screens were directed in 2002 by Frédéric Fisbach who chose to display the casting between three actors for the 3 main characters and japanese bunraku puppets for all the others. The bunraku company is Youki-za, one of the oldest in Japan, founded at the XVIth century. Puppet’s voices were played live by two other actors.

The Screens seems to be a proposition for a total theater – a feast as Genet said – where the text accompanies a poetic action which takes place either on stages or screens. The Screens carry a dream or a vision of the theater which could be simultaneously a comedy and a solemn feast, dedicated to the living and the dead. A poem for the stage reviving the politics, in the sense it offers a vision of the world to the public” (F. Fisbach)

The music for live electronics, the voice’s amplification and transformation and the spatialization of every element was played live on stage by Jean-Baptiste Droulers.

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