Sorry, French only

Sisyphus2014-09-18

And so everything is always to be started anew, and one should somehow be satisfied with that.

Having been as much surprised as touched by the trust in me that l’Apostrophe, the national theatre in Cergy Pontoise, showed a few months ago in welcoming me for a pluriannual artist-in-residence program, I needed to imagine how best to honor that trust, and more precisely to ask myself if I was once again ready to face the question of “other”: something with “others”; something for something “other”… The irresistible attraction for vagueness that is so present in our culture of communication called, and it was about transforming it into acts.

At any rate, the project would be far from any tabula rasa —or most probably way beyond it—, if one is ready to accept the idea that absurdity can be confronted with its own limits. And indeed, perhaps precisely because of a certain taste for limits, in contrast to the modern obsession that refuses them, along with a simple idea that between the principle of precaution and the act of rushing headlong into something, there exists a vast space where it only depends upon oneself to create something exhilarating.

So writing for a larger ensemble became essential, an immense but necessary step to climb, one whose success depended essentially on the quality of the musicians I would invite on the adventure. As this holistic ideal called, a wish list of musicians took shape, in retrospect with a gratifying facility. An orchestra to be made up of exceptional soloists (twelve, who knows why?), including some who had long been associated with the ilium project, others who I met only recently, but all of whom I had come across on various shared ventures.

What is essential, however, was less our common history than the admiration I have for these people, which is limitless. It is a sort of raw admiration for what each person is and for what each person does, with as much determination as generosity, and as much open-mindedness as expertise. It is an admiration that has found itself reinforced at each step of the way, and has convinced me that the multiplication of people does not necessarily generate a multiplication of problems.

It was a form of admiration that kept the nostalgia for golden ages where it rightly belonged, certainly necessary for creating the atmosphere, but discreet enough to project a commonly felt intuition and likewise the simple desire to evolve. It was a sort of small society of experts, united around a subject to be broached, which they tackled in a masterly way, all the while asking for nothing more than to play. It was a concentrate of individuals, all so human, seeking emotion through a maieutic process that surpassed the techniques on which they had worked so much, essentially together and sometimes apart, each individual aware that the expression of his own singularity depended fundamentally on the quality of his link to others.

And all that to attain moments of fulfillment made all the more intense by being the result of the time it took to obtain them. Taking time, respecting the difference between agility and nervous tension, is a savory counterweight to the dictatorship of the instant and of the masses, and the numerous attendant frustrations.

And it is perhaps there, in the voluptuousness of a shared quest for something not immediately discernible, that lies this joy of doing, which is at least equivalent to the joy of succeeding, and which radically transforms the perspective of starting anew with, as a bonus, the impression that the feelings borne out of the collective experience of taking each step, however small and modest it be, provide an extra layer onto things, which makes the fall both less brutal and more unpredictable: one then restarts from a slightly different place each time, and realizes that what needs to be redone needs to be done in a slightly different way.

And so, king of the world for one short instant, one catches oneself hoping that the mosaic of individual post-modern terrains is thus fertilized, by the cultivation of a sensible and sensitive collective movement, in which each individual is as much indebted to common well-known origins, as to common deeply-lived experiences, all slow actors in a complex sedimentation which, why not believe it, would leave a tiny small chance to History.

Is all that about Jazz? Probably, but it might as well be an other question.

 January 2014 / translated by Audrey Fogels