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French May, Hong Kong - May 2015

La musique regardée 1: art and cinema

Curated by Pascale Cassagnau (CNAP) and Anne Laure Chamboissier

The parallel and shared histories of modern art and contemporary art—with photography, film, video and television—have been forever interwoven, placing art under the camera’s eye, meeting time’s requirements. Here we may recall the extremely relevant encounter between film and art through the documentary film made in 1966 by Brian de Palma about modern art, The Responsive Eye. Preparing a programme of films about contemporary art, understood in its wider context, involves encounters of subjects, fields, and areas of expression aimed at highlighting the task of art. From this angle, the encounter between music and film traces an arena rich in unusual works. The films of Pierre Bastien,Charles de Meaux, Cédric Eymenier, Valéry Grancher, Bernard Joisten, Romain Kronenberg, Ange Leccia and Dania Reymond attest to the wealth and diversity of film work in France.

Hong Kong Art Center
2 Harbour Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong


7pm to 8pm
Bernard Joisten, La société des items, 2014, 30’
With the support of : Commission du mécénat de la Fondation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques.
Bernard Joisten is a video-maker, painter, writer and film critic, who is forever shifting his areas of experimentation, from text to sound, from painting to film, and video. Empire, Les Aventures, Crystale, and La société des items are all applications of interactive narratives. Like a collector, the artist compiles and samples a set of images in different styles and chords which evoke memories of TV films, advertisements, clips and films. These materials represent a grid of hypotheses for the narrative. Places, spaces and views of landscapes are organized in a random way based on a set of narrative shifters: adverbs of time and place punctuate the narrative weft, talking in different ways about the possibilities of fiction. For some years now, Bernard Joisten has been visiting and re-visiting contemporary Japanese culture, looking for sources of inspiration. The film La Société des items is inspired by the Japanese urban landscape and the architecture of the media which form it, once again moving his pictorial world into its broader and
“design-oriented” context.

8.05pm to 8.25pm
Pierre Bastien, Reviver, 2015, 20’
Commissioned by the CNAP, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Paris
Reviver is an audiovisual composition made of dozens of short excerpts from old music films. It mixes found footage technics and superimposition and collage. Although it uses exclusively ancient material, the piece is strongly influenced by contemporary electronic
music or electronica: the sequences are edited, sampled, looped, and their sound is sometimes transposed, enhanced or filtered for musical purpose. Paradoxically, this 20 mn video piece does not bear any resemblance to some sort of VJing. Here image and sound are inseparable. Visuals are not adorning sounds: they are the sounds. The piece revives hundreds of performers from the past, known and unknown, and bring them all into a common hybrid and planetary composition.

8.30pm to 9.32 pm {{}}
Ange Leccia, A Perfect Day, 2007, 62’
Produced by : Camera Lucida
All Ange Leccia’s films respond to a recording logic peculiar to the clip—that kind of “sound track of life”, as Peter Szendy put it in Tubes. A Perfect Day is a montage—a reconstruction of a set of clips—, sequences filmed over the years and here re-visited. In its turn, the film produces a second memory, a sort of temporal layer, which underscores the effect of nostalgia and the recollection relating to listening to disks. Alain Baschung’s Avec le temps/With Time is a remake of Léo Ferré’s song. Another sequence includes Elie Medeiros’s song accompanying a long tracking shot of a Corsican landscape filmed at night. This song which accompanies the vague and dark landscape seems to be the memory of another time: sound and image form a structure referring to their ancient doubles, giving rise to an effect of melancholy, peculiar to any musical hit being listened to.

9.34 to 10.04pm {{}}
Cédric Eymenier, P#12 Tokyo, 2005/2008, 30’
Soundtrack : Akira Rabelais, Oren Ambarchi, Taylor Deupree,
The artist and musician Cédric Eymenier combines photographs, videos, collages, acoustic installations and projections. Tokyo is the twelfth opus of the Platform project which, to date, includes 13 films made in very precise neighbourhoods in one or two metropolises selected for their modernity and their architectural complexity. But the architecture is not film for its own sake, rather it acts as a context. These places are mainly crossroads, different thoroughfares where flows are frequent and varied, and where the host of micro-events is recorded in a single static shot. Each sound track is an original work by a musician involved in the international experimental scene. During the filming, sounds in the environment are caught and removed, with the musician adding his own music to them. This procedure thus makes it possible to keep a foothold in reality while proposing a re-interpretation of the acoustic landscape. For Tokyo, the artist worked with Akira Rabelais (USA), Oren Ambarchi (USA), and Taylor Deupree (Australia).


7pm to 8.06pm {{}}
Charles de Meaux, Marfa’s Mystery Lights, 2006, 66’
Produced by : Mike Luba-Michael Gramaglia; With the support of : CNAP; Original Soundtrack : The Secret Machines Live concert audio
Charles de Meaux is involved in an unusual cinematographic work which questions the subtle interface between History and fiction, between narrative and political geography. Le Pont du Trieur, devised in collaboration with Philippe Parreno, and Shimkent Hotel are cinematographic objects of the third kind, which multiply the number of levels of intelligibility : filmed diary, indirect narrative, summary of geography and history, political fiction. Somewhere between science-fiction and political-fiction, Charles de Meaux’s films proceed by way of detours and indirect correlations, the better to analyze enigmatic realities. For Marfa’s Mystery Lights, he films the musicians in the American group The Secret Machines in Marfa, a town in western Texas and the place where Donald Judd
lives and works. This film recreates the meeting between music and architecture, then the concert that the group organizes in the nearby desert for UFOs, other unidentified flying objects and asteroids thought to inhabit nature in this area near Roswell, in New Mexico. This film shows the preparations for the concert. It is also a documentary as much about music and the preparations for the concert as about itself.

8.10 pm to 8.33pm
Valery Grancher, Hong Kong Epiphanie, 2014, 33’08’’
Produced by : Valéry Grancher; Sound : Aphex Twins and Valéry Grancher
In Finnegans Wake, James Joyce strolls through the streets of Dublin and samples snippets of sentences which he called “epiphanies”! This was definitely one of the first examples of ‘sampling’ in literature… Hong Kong is one of those very special territories in the world : a small archipelago that has switched from being a British colony to being part of China with a specific status. It has become one of the most liberal places on earth in terms of finance and economy, while in recent years also becoming an art hub between Asia and the West. Through its history and its status, it has taken on a specific urban character: 70% of the territory is still green and protected, and the remaining 30% has encouraged a vertical development (highrise buildings).
Valéry Grancher made this video during several trips made between 2005 and 2012. His wanderings in this territory were a visual shock, made up of architectural and cultural comparisons, not to mention the cultural gap he experienced as a westerner understanding neither the language nor the human codes. The artist was confronted with revelatory realities and prompted to construct a form of psycho-geography mixing anthropological perception, intuitive perception and his own fantasies about the territory. Through this project, he tries to bring this experience to life and share it with the spectator through his own way of looking at things. It is important to underline that this Hong Kong shown by the artist is that of a westerner who lives in this territory, and not a tourist borrowing and always focusing on the same subjects, without even understanding this local culture. This video is a kind of anthropological experiment, and a poetic form emerges from these Hong Kong “epiphanies”.

8.40pm to 9.23pm
Romain Kronenberg, Marcher puis disparaître, en collaboration avec Benjamin Graindorge, 2014, 43’
Product by : Clément Postec pour Too Many Cowboys; With the
support of : Commission Image/Mouvement, CNAP, Music : Romain
The musician and film-maker Romain Kronenberg organizes his oeuvre around the issue of image and sound. The music he composes has a crucial place in his films. The film Marcher puis disparaître describes the trajectory of a man who, coming from afar, passes through the daily round of a small Turkish town, where he observes customs and places at daybreak: a café, the old mosque, and the streets coming to life… The man reaches the town’s outskirts and then plunges into the countryside and gradually moves away from civilization; he crosses the ecumene— the permanently inhabited part of the earth—and then discovers a huge salt lake, where he abandons himself to the climate. Through this path, the walker creates the bond between the town and the lake, and thus opens up a dialogue between opposing notions: collective and individual, concrete and abstract, real and theoretical, documentary and fictional. The sound track is the outcome of some extremely subtle work where the artist rebuilds the acoustic environments from scratch, thus freely highlighting the elements in the image to which he wants to draw the spectator’s attention. Through this movement which takes place in a visual way (from the town’s energy to the lake’s formal perfection) and in a musical way, too (from sound effects to pure music), he invites us on a sensory, hypnotic and contemplative journey.

9.30pm to 9.45 pm
Dania Reymond, Greenland Unrealised, 2012, 15’
In these videos, Dania Reymond interested in several topics, directly connected to our contemporary world, its history and mutations. The question of how we look at reality and represent it in its very structure (physically, politically, artistically...) is the common thread of preoccupations connecting in each of these videos, although manifested differently in each one of them. She looked at painting, cinema and photography and used these systems of representation to provide information about the realities which she portray. This film is the story of the last days of a community living in Greenland, still inhabitable before its glaciation. The image will reconstitute and scour the remains of the community’s village after the glaciation while the soundtrack will describe the film project and the impossibility of its production.

Romain Kronenberg Cédrick Eymenier Pierre Bastien