Matthieu Blond: Journal - Obituaries

20 minute presentation for AEROPONIC ACTS  - growing roots in air, DAI's 3 day marathon of lecture-perfomance acts, May 2019.

In the continuation of Journal, I would like to explore a new section of this annual performative magazine Obituaries.

Ana Teixeira Pinto, Anselm Franke and Laura Harris responded to the question:

Where does memory rest?

Report by Ayesha Hameed:

In the middle of the circle in which the audience is seated, the artist stands and taps his chest. This is an obituary for two figures. He points to different corners of the room and the balconies overhead. The first is for Agnes Varda; he names the years of her birth and death, walking around and mimicking the sound of the wind, a storm, a baby’s cry. He narrates a story about meeting someone at a workshop organized by Jean-Luc Godard and describes the film. Mundane props are moved onto the stage – a broom, bag, chair, as he communicates a sense of grief, mourning and recovery. He sings and rubs his hands together and the performance becomes a parody of a lecture by a French philosopher and then a rap about his dislike of Immanuel Kant. All of this coalesces into a kind of storytelling that reaches emotional peaks when he describes loosening the memory of his lover, or in the poetic gesture of mimicking Varda grabbing objects emptyhandedly from behind the camera. The artist begins to dance, mostly in the dark. There are shadows. The performance returns to the format at the beginning, to the obituary of two figures.

‘The dance was beautiful, it recognized our presence in a crematorium,’ said Laura Harris, who liked the narration of the relief of feeling your body again after a break-up, of feeling the self on the street. She thought the gesture of tapping the chest at the beginning and end evoked a heartbeat.

Ana Texeira Pinto was interested in question of humour: the type that can speak truth to power, that injects a subversive quality into hierarchical social relations. She thought the artist should stick to the French language, as in the comfort with language much more is possible.

‘The work is technically well done,’ said Anselm Franke, and combined seriousness, mockery and wittiness. He noted its relationship to written work on the disembodied voice and plays with time on stage. ‘There is a magic of revelation and concealment that is performed,’ he said, advising that the work needs to be developed further.