Performative artistic creation at Villa Kujoyama – August-December 2021

Four creations, 25 cities, several partner artists, tens of collaborators…

Choralités Transcontinentales was a journey across Japan, listening and collecting sounds and vocal memories. Subsequently, I tried to harmonize, orchestrate, and interlace those voices onto choral performances, mingling artistic installation, theater, music, and movement.

All my work is shaped around listening at its utmost generous meaning. Self-listening and listening to others, listening to interior and exterior spaces. It is through the common experience of listening to several people of different ages, origins, professions, and varied horizons that I try to twill my creations’ weaving. It is through harmonizing discordant voices that I aim to reveal the symphony within the cacophony.

Those compositions extend to performances and artistic actions within public spaces. We are more and more interested in the countless stories hidden behind the “official History”: they tell a lot about ourselves and open up infinite possibilities of exchange, sharing, and re-signifying our own cultures. We are not alone, as numerous voices resound through our own voice.

We play with the sounds and silences of the world. My main idea is to take the audience out on a flying carpet, towards an altered perception of our daily reality, inviting them to witness its sudden transformation, where it would be different from the common image that routine has sculpted and that our eyes, ears, and bodies have become so used to…

The experience of this artwork can potentially transform and modulate interior and exterior spaces. Thanks to vocal material and the availability of each performer, we have rebuilt the surrounding space by taking first and foremost the time to listen to each other.

Thus, at Villa Kujoyama, I was engaged in hybrid, multilingual, and participative projects, directly related to educative and cultural networks across the Kansai, but also to artists who came from different regions of the country, especially members of the Ainu community (from Hokkaido) and traditional musicians and singers from Okinawa.

The survival of marginalized cultures somewhere around one sole “dominant” culture is a very dear theme to me. I intend to denounce  all manifestations of colonialism (and neo-colonialism) and how these mechanisms get to silence “polyphony” in favor of a hegemonic voice. I come from a country whose heavy colonial history has devastated the native people for centuries. Therefore, I dreamt of drawing a North-South line that would connect Hokkaido to Okinawa, two islands/archipelagos lately annexed to the Japanese empire, hence still keepers of a rich cultural and vocal heritage that I sought to hear and make heard in all their diversity beyond their historical and geographical boundaries. I wanted to gather those two musicalities within the same performative space, as a full and fair echo of the voices of Japan nowadays.

Through the simultaneous collaboration with several actor-performers, by borrowing and transforming musical motifs such as polyphony, counterpoint, and ostinato, I focus on exploring and expanding, via the vocality in movement, the public space perception as well as the present moment.

The stay was enriched with multiple encounters, in which transformative power operated and still operates in my way of conceiving and sharing my work, of putting its hypothesizes and limits into perspective, and of rethinking new forms of intercultural mediation. The artistic experience – especially when it comes to performative and collective art, inevitably grappling with the present – pushes us to constantly become the translators of ourselves. An extended stay in a faraway country, with socio-cultural codes and poetic substrate so different from our schemes and Western world mythologies, underlines this transcoding potentiality. This is done through a more complex and moving consciousness of the human being, by redefining the social being and the ”being together.

Moreover, this exploration repositions us as art practitioners. Yet, this domain is not only constantly altering but is part of a network of numerous and varied signs and effects. They defy reduction to simplistic and infinitely reproducible formulas or rigid certainties far removed from reality. This includes the perilous belief in the absolute necessity of art in the intricate fabric of the world.