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Publié le 24 August

Interview of Myriam Bleau – Expérience 2 at Tambour, Université Rennes 2

As part of the Expérience 2, Thursday the 12th of October at the Tambour, Myriam Bleau comes back to Maintenant festival to presentautopsy.glass.

This young artist makes glasses being broken do the talking, discover her project through this interview.

Why did you choose to create an art performance around glass? Can you explain the genesis of this work?

I have to admit that I am more interested in the tension that this object can bear rather than in the object itself. Fragility, anticipation, unwanted physical reactions when a glass breaks.

Music generates a physical response of the audience – by mimetism, rhythms and pitch of the sounds create an analogue sensation of the body, I wanted to try to juxtapose a tension and a musical narration and on the other hand a tension and a theatricality linked to the destruction of fragile objects.

Working with objects while keeping the interaction consistent reduces the amount of possibilities. Therefore I wanted to work with an object that offers a broad enough set of sounds and manipulations that are richer enough for composing.

What does this matter inspire you?

The glass of wine has several symbolisms. As displayed in the initial setup of my performance, it reminds a society event or a glass organ. When I was thinking of the ways I would break the glasses, I got inspired by the torture instruments of the Middle-Age, which are characterized by a slow and painful process. I also had a look at the world of medicine; by the way I use several medical tools during the performance, some hammers and pliers that are usually dedicated to rather macabre uses.

The video that presents your project made some of our coworkers feel curious but embarrassed at the same time. Especially when one inexorably waits that the glass breaks. Which feelings do you expect your audience to have?

First of all, I want the audience to experience a physical reaction, but I don’t feel the need that people all interpret the performance the same way. Some are going to feel tension and anticipation, others the liberating and “destroy” aspect, and perhaps be afraid that I hurt myself. I really hope to be able to engage the audience ‘physically’, no matter at which level.

How many glasses are you going to put to the test during Maintenant?

The device for the performance has 36 light spots, each one with a glass. Usually, there are not much glasses left at the end of the show.

What is the influence of digital in this experience? How do you use it?

In autopsy.glass, I use the digital mainly in the scenography, the light effects and the narration. Indeed the -rather rudimentary- digital tools I use during the performance offer a fragmented temporality, that is more complex than if I had to stick only to the acoustical possibilities of the manipulations. The digital context also allows to go beyond the causal gesture-sound link, as with the traditional acoustic instruments, to make more complex connections, where gestures and energy that are given to the system control light patterns, detailed musical processes, and abrupt changes of atmosphere.

Do you think the digital has become essential to an artistic work, no matter its kind, in order to capture the attention of the audience?

Absolutely not. Simultaneously, digital is becoming so ubiquitous that it is loosing its specificity : everything is digital.

What is the next creation you are working on?

I am currently working on several projects at the same time. I have a new series of installations called Stories of Mechanical Music, in which I juxtapose the concept of the music box together with play-list of the on-line music distribution services in an hybrid object. I also have other projects for performances but I would prefer to talk about them when they are mature enough.

How would you define your practice or your field of action? Musician? Performer? Digital arts? Music?

Somewhere between all of that. Having a label is not important to me. Music stays a major element in my practice because I feel the need to explore temporality in a digital context.

The tendency is to use the platform of sound rather than music in order to explore the potential of new technologies. I am still attached to the process of composition, this exercise of creating an interesting temporal progression with limited materials. As mentioned before, the special features of digital arts crumble and lose sense as digital becomes more and more ubiquitous. For this reason, I think that I am comfortable with this denomination : soon, it is going to be meaningless.

There are several artists who explore similar fields in Quebec, among them Martin Messier and Nicolas Bernier. Is there a “Quebec school”? Do you exchange between each other?

I have been meeting Martin and Nicolas a lot while touring in the last years, more than in Montreal. I think that I have seen Field around ten times. Although our the aesthetics we develop are not the same, following their projects is always inspiring, to see how they renew their approach to audiovisual and to scenography as the technological and artistic climate changes. Other friends from Montreal also produce more physical performances, with unique objects or devices. The community is inspiring. Let us see if there is going to be a Montreal school. Montreal is a really dynamic city culturally speaking, with its own flavor. The fact that we are a bit isolated form Europe made us develop something original.

Do you want to create projects (installations or performances) with other people?

Yes, I am currently working on collaborative projects. I like the flexibility while being alone, but working with other people broadens the possibilities of action and refreshes the aesthetic perspective.

You have been to the Maintenant festival before, can you see specificities of this event compared with what you know? Are you going to come back in two years with a new creation?

I have good memories in mind of my stay in Rennes. I appreciate the mix of styles; one feels the open-mindedness, while keeping the program consistent. I think that Maintenant festival offers an encompassing vision of the digital cultures : it does not stick to the conventional. About coming back in two years, it would be a pleasure of course. Let us see what will be ready then!

Interview by Marion Vannier

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