Cornucopiae The Independent Dance


Cap au Sud-Sud !

2010- 2011- 2012-2013
3. PAUL RICARD 1909 - 1997
4. MARSEILLE : Radio Grenouille & Euphonia




Courants d’A.I.R. - a project for an independent resident artist in association with the CNCDC in Chateauvallon run by Christian Tamet - corresponds to this desire for something lightweight and free of constraints. Today, considering the kind of creative work I have in mind, I’ve no need for a specific site or a permanent team of dancers. I’m not setting down roots - not that any more. Regularly, but never for very long. I have to breathe the southern air, to continue to move, to remain in a way unclear about things before acting.

Today I’m a dancer and choreographer, a hunter-out of unlikely things.

Above all what I’d really like to do is to gather together a resource of sounds, images and gestures. The team I’d like to assemble is one that’s committed, suited to different occasions and comprised essentially of sound recordists, musicians, story-tellers and people who work with light and image.
I mean to ferret amongst the words and views and gestures of people from the South, and from the two shores of the Mediterranean. From each and both. To hear different resonances. Other accents, other languages. Other spaces. Other bodies in movement…
Of those who live, work, gossip, dream, walk, grumble, get by…

To put things in relation, to articulate, conjugate…

The art of choreography!

It never takes long for a dancer to weave strands together, to nurture and share them. Strengthened by the force of practical experience, dancers are particularly effective when it comes to organising and building on actions and events.
To present the outcome of these explorations, I really enjoy imagining other circumstances for performance and spaces other than theatres in which to show work, and to think of them as offering an opportunity to question the relationship with an audience approaching the work free of preconceptions.

Courants d’A.I.R . is a continuation of a meditation on the idea of independence. The research, meetings and collecting of materials represents three to four months of work per year, the record of which will be found in radio-works, documentaries and films, writings, music, and public performances of danced gestures.

The project is therefore itinerant, travelling along both coasts of the Mediterranean, through France, through Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.


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It’s envisaged that Courants d’A.I.R. should last 4 years: 2010 – 13.
In 2013, the artistic outcome of the three preceding years will be shown as a live performance in a popular and original form: “THE NAMELESS WAR”. An installation comprising dance, sound, light and image, it will lean on all forms of artistic and human support, derived from the people we meet or from the spirit of places. “THE NAMELESS WAR”, under the auspices of Cornucopiae and the CNCDC in Chateauvallon, intends to enrol in the Marseille – Provence programme for 2013.
What’s striking about the tragedy of the Algerian War of Independence is the silence that surrounds it still after nearly 50 years. That’s how long it’s taken the historians to come to terms with its human madness. French and Algerian people alike are still stigmatised by THE NAMELESS WAR.
Having made the initial series of interviews concerning this buried memory for INDEPENDANCE n°1 between April 2009 and September 2010 and having gone to the Aurès region in May 2010, I have to continue to hear and urge others to listen in return. Those who made willing witnesses were born in the years 1930/1940. I’m now planning a second series of interviews with those born around the years 60/70. Their various testimonies – complementary, paradoxical or, quite the reverse, convergent – oblige me to reflect and to open myself up to things I don’t know about. I’m aware of the very deep alterations that this investigative work has made in the way I imagine things and perceive reality. It has changed how I see myself and others. For example, I considered myself a tolerant person and I realise now that, in this matter, I’ve got some work to do. Nothing is ever really acquired. Every new experience reveals previously unknown sides to our natures.
I’m amazed to think how few artists committed to live performance take an interest in the tragedy of the Algerian War. I’ve read Camus and the writings of historians, seen documentaries and films that were highly personalised accounts, I’ve seen pieces for theatre but never dance-works. Yet the body in movement is the ideal vehicle to evoke the strange ambiguity of the comportment of men and women in wartime.
Being as slow as a tortoise myself, I need plenty of time to go down this infinitely extending path of reflection and creation concerning independence. Along the way I hope to meet with people whose impact will allow me to stake out the route - as a jeweller setting polished stones – towards a creation comprised of sounds, images and gestures.
In this context I would like to collaborate with Tariq Teguia, an Algerian film-maker whose work on “Inland” (2008) recently so startled me that I felt suspended, joyful, in the way one does when one’s just seen something rare and fine. I’m in contact with him and hope to convince him that we should work together. We’ll see…


3. PAUL RICARD 1909-1997

I can’t give a rational explanation for my interest in the life and personality of Paul Ricard. I don’t understand why the outlook of this man, and the routes he took, should fascinate me so much. To try to explain it, I could always fall back on the hackneyed cliché of some pieds-noirs around a table with their anisette and their olives… But that’s not it. Or I could advance the idea that I was caught up in a mad quest to try to recapture the exact taste of the first-ever mouthful of Ricard. But no, that’s not enough either.
I’m no intellectual. I think with the whole body, not just the head – a sort of animal sniffing around in order to discover things, to find out how to go forward. Intuition and observation are my partners. I can spend an age getting a detail right without tiring, feeling passionate, without noticing the time passing. Intuition isn’t an infallible guide to the paths it encourages us to take. Far from it. And I’m well aware of it. To lose oneself is secondary because, beneath it all, every path has its virtues.

So I follow in the steps of Paul Ricard.

So far I’ve only visited two sites linked to Ricard : the Sainte-Marthe laboratory and first factory (later warehouse) in Marseille, the site that symbolises the start of the Ricard adventure. And the Production Centre in Bordeaux, because it’s near La Rochelle where I still live. I was joined by sound-man Nicolas Barillot on this second visit, and the photographer João Garcia. On each occasion I was moved by the warmth and simplicity of the place. That this man was able to convey such fundamental energy and that it should remain after he was gone-– it makes you think of how dancers transfer ideas orally. And likewise, how the force of a gesture or a dance always grows from some tiny occasion, out of next to nothing. It makes you think of the impact of thought and intention—of how they work to bring you to the heart of gestures that ravish the imagination.

I’d like to go on visiting the sites that marked Paul Ricard’s professional life, notably La Margeray, to see the appartments created there for the workers, Méjanes in the Camargue, the island of Bendor, the sea Observatory on Embiez Island, the commune of Signes where he was mayor and the retreat on the outcrop of la Tête-de-l’Evèque. Every site he chose is remarkable, as much in an aesthetic as in a symbolic sense; each one reflects the singular and visionary personality of a man ahead of his times.

At the heart of the South and Further South! venture, I mean to absorb myself in that extraordinary instant of clouding-over that occurs when water is added to pastis… so as to see things less clearly !!!


4. MARSEILLE : Radio Grenouille & Euphonia

I remember how, in the 80s, the creativity of the free radios as they arrived upon the scene had an incredible impact. The way they surged into prominence had a huge influence on our acoustic environment. One of my own choreographies, Grand Ecart, for example had a sound track inspired by Radio Nova, the free and up-to-the-minute radio of that period.
In the balance between eye and ear that I’m looking for and in the personal evolution that has encouraged me to consider the force of oral traditions, sound -and artistic approaches that exploit everything concerned with it - have a primary role to play.
It ‘s just as important to privilege the ear’s capacity for subtle discriminations as it is to know how to see. Ear and eye have to know how to work together and interact. Since the beginning of my career in dance, I’ve had first-rate sound engineers at my side and I’ve had the good fortune to have learnt with the best of them.
Whether in daily life or on stage, the sound-world is a subtle and powerful partner. It speaks directly to the imagination and for this reason it’s a principal element that accompanies and incites the region of thought. When I dance, sound is an indispensable partner that opens unforeseen paths towards instantaneous experiment.
Priority goes to encouraging the development of the work via radio broadcasts as a form of witness to the various resources Cornucopiae is collecting alongside Nicolas Barillot.
Each time we travel elsewhere, whether we go to Algeria, New Caledonia, to Paul Ricard’s home or to Marseille, we’re collecting, sifting and organising the words, sounds and landscapes – both urban and rural – associated with these different journeys to form an aural record.
In Marseille I visited the studios and met with the team that runs the famous Radio Grenouille and the sound workshop Euphonia. We’re in the process of conceiving a shared space for radiophonic work which should see its first results with THE NAMELESS WAR.
Sound events are to be devised in association with other radios :
- with RFI and Pascale Paradou (Culture Vive), who would like to follow up the different journeys linked with Courants d’A.I.R. and the South Pacific Project in New Caledonia.
- with Frank Smith and France Culture’s Ateliers de Création Radiophonique.
Another aspect of Nicolas Barillot’s work for Cornucopiae is the regular recording of the music of Gianni Fornet, the guitarist who has been immersed in my creative work since 2004. As a result of meeting with the musician Moïse Kuiesine from Wetr in Lifou and discovering Kanak song, the range of sounds to be collected will be enlarged, giving rise to fresh opportunities for devising musical inventions for broadcast. .


A project by Régine Chopinot
Son : Nicolas Barillot
Musique : Gianni Fornet
Lumières : Maryse Gautier
Photo et vidéo : João Garcia


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Cornucopiae – the independent dance est subventionnée par le ministère de la Culture et de la Communication DRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Région Sud – Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur, le Conseil départemental du Var, la Communauté d’Agglomération Toulon Provence Méditerranée et la Ville de Toulon. Avec le soutien de la Ville de La Valette-du-Var jusqu'en 2017.