Yi Sang à Paris [i]

june 13, 2010.

Of the many events lined up for the weeks to come I am especially looking forward to the upcoming Parisian exhibition and series of events around the work of the Korean poet Yi Sang / 이 상 (1910 - 1937), under the title Est-ce que la ligne a assassiné le cercle?

yi sangThese past couple of weeks, while preparing my contribution to the exhibition (from June 23rd to July 4th), at La Générale I have been reading an awful lot of Yi Sang. Maybe needless to say, but I am totally incapable of reading Yi Sang's texts in the original language. Even though I often look at them in their Korean (and Japanese) form, I read the French and English translations of his words. This, and the 're/lent-less modern-ness' of Yi Sang's poems, makes that my working of Yi Sang feels like sitting opposite a huge, empty ball of polished glass: it is both utterly transparent and utterly inaccessible. That's a paradox, of course, but one that - rather to my own surprise - I find extremely inspiring.

Here's a picture of the little Korean barbecue last wednesday, June 9th 2010, at La Générale, to give you a taste of things to come.


The wednesday evening at La Générale continued with a number of performances with and around Donation, starting with, right after the barbecue, another prelude to Yi Sang. Luna Yoon Kyung read, accompanied by Rébus, a Korean (Google-)translation of A new ontology of music, an English text on 'postmusic', written and distributed by Nam June Paik in 1963 as part of his Monthly Review of the University for Avant-garde Hinduism.



The four colorful designs above I gave as motto a line from "BOITEUX • BOITEUSE", one of the French-titled Yi Sang poems. A French translation of that line reads: Si on saisit les astres et qu'on les fend, il y aura au moins du bruit (an English translator rendered that same verse as iftheskywastornleasttheredbesomenoise).

The four images will be were projected onto the facade of a building at Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, between approximately 9h35 and 9h50 pm Australian Standard Time, on Saturday June 12th June. They are both my contribution to the Facade Project and a first virtual part of my contribution to the Yi Sang à Paris exhibition: I work on a small visual/(no)sound installation that (like Yi Sang's work, I think) intends to be a gesture of giving that which is ungraspable. (The work comes with an online component, that in due time will live at yisang.soundblog.net.)


Over the coming weeks, if you go around the French capital, chances are that you encounter Yi Sang's intriguing verses. At odd places. He is in Paris, after all. (Click the picture to enlarge)



Poem by Rébus is the title of a recent highly recommended cassette release on Staaltape. One of its sides comprises two of the recordings Rébus made of Yi Sang's poems, recited by Kim Joeun at a number of selected public places Paris; one was recorded in a café in Montmartre, the other while riding the metro line 12. Yi Sang wanted to, very much so, but he never got the chance to visit Paris in his lifetime. ]


[ Yi Sang à Paris : "Est-ce que la ligne a assassiné le cercle?". A cycle of performances, lectures, installations and concerts around the work of the Korean poet Yi Sang. La Générale, 14 avenue de Parmentier, Paris XI. ]

[ next Yi Sang entry: Read me a poem, Yi Sang! ]

Read about Yi Sang (이상) on the SoundBlog:

(2010, august 22) - Yi Sang 이상 in Seoul: Rebirth
(2010, august 14) - "And what about Yi Sang?" (이상 à Paris [iv])
(2010, june 29) - Ceremonies (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [iii])
(2010, june 25) - Read me a poem, Yi Sang! (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [ii])
(2010, june 13) - Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [i]

More Yi Sang 이상: Read me a poem, Yi Sang!

SoundBlog entries around and about La Générale Nord-Est:

(2022, september 2) - Three Musketeers Musicking Maastricht & La Générale
(2022, july 2) - X-unPub
(2021, june 13) - Die Stillgestandenen (The Stillstands / Standstills / Stillstanders)
(2021, february 21) - Lento (slowly)
(2018, september 01) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part iv]
(2018, august 13) - Rage, rafts & refugees
(2018, august 10) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part iii]
(2018, july 21) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete... [part ii]
(2018, april 10) - La Générale Nord-Est (PAMP18-1)
(2017, august 19) - t'Obsolete or not t'Obsolete ... [part i]
(2016, august 04) - Nicolas Collins - 2 April 2016, La Générale
(2015, july 15) - Bridges, troubles, water - unPublic #19
(2014, april 08) - La physicalité du son. Tome 1.
(2013, december 13) - Candles, Cassettes & Champagne - unPublic #4
(2010, december 29) - Obsolescence
(2010, august 14) - "And what about Yi Sang?" (이상 à Paris [iv])
(2010, june 29) - Ceremonies (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [iii])
(2010, june 25) - Read me a poem, Yi Sang! (Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [ii])
(2010, june 13) - Yi Sang 이상 à Paris [i]
(2010, january 13) - Art fleas (puces de l'art)
(2009, july 20) - General Acoustics
(2006, august 14) - placard : la générale (Belleville)

tags: Yi Sang, Paris

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Jean Bordé's Electric Dream

june 12, 2010.

It was with unfeigned surprise that I realized last Friday June 11th 2010, while walking up the courtyard at 45 rue du Faubourg du Temple, that I had not been again at La Cométe 347 since our Grand Cirque there, on Friday March 13th of last year.

It was not a surprise of course that Jean Bordé had chosen La Cométe to present on the first evening of the 2010 World Soccer Championship - while in South Africa the French national team in its WC opening match confronted that of Uruguay - what one might call the 'Bordélectric guitar oc(VIII)tet'. La Cométe is the perfect Parisian lieu for non-sponsored and non-funded experiments in massive improvisation. 4 out of the 8 players actually also participated in last year's 'Triple Entente', which - as you may recall - had been initiated by Jean as well. So there is little doubt indeed that there must be something Wagnerian lurking deep inside Diktat's double bass player, frêle eyeing but very talented.

Here's a picture of Jean's electric dream materializing in La Comète's 'swimming pool' (you may click it to enlarge):

electric dream

Left to right, there's Dongle Doc (el. guitar + laptop), Alexandre Bellenger (el. guitar), Frédéric Marty (el. bass), Nicolas Lelièvre (drums), Jean Bordé (double bass), Jérome Lapierre (el. guitar), Anthony Carcone (el. guitar) and - hidden in the picture - Arnaud Le Mindu (el. guitar).

It is Jean's intention to, in the near future, compose for this or a similar ensemble. For now, though, he sent the ensemble out improvising, without much direction and with little or no instruction, in order to get a clearer idea of the eigensounds, inclinations and idiosyncrasies of the eight musicians. It surely explains why for a substantial part of the evening's concert Jean himself could be seen listening...

jeanborde jeanborde

Asking a such ensemble to 'just improvise' is obviously venturing out onto a slippery road (een zich op glad en dun ijs begeven) and crash-prone. Potentially maybe even fatally so. The path that the eight embarked upon proved to be a slippery one indeed. But the band did manage to stay on track. More or less. For much of the time.

In the chosen set-up, improvised play tends to be dominated by those musicians that are either the most out-going (the extravert) or those that have the loudest amplifiers (both properties are not completely independent, of course), while some of the more introvert contributors willy-nilly are being pushed into the background. This was the Darwinian balance into which the group's dynamics could rather quickly be seen (and heard) to settle. Nicolas Lelièvre, quite naturally and almost from the very beginning, assumed the role of the band's leader and director. Pretty much single handedly, he continued to set and re-set the band's tempo and dynamics. As such, he did a great job, but I still found it curious to notice that his de facto leadership remained pretty much unchallenged over the full length of both of the sets, the second of which was the best and most coherent.

In the evening's finest moments, along with Frédéric Marty's electric bass, Nicolas tight and imaginative percussive swing whipped onwards the five electric guitar players, that at lesser moments rather seemed a bunch of unwilling mercenaries, sent out on patrol while having been deprived of women and pay for too long. But when Nicolas and Frédéric had them going, there suddenly was that little something that allowed the audience to at least get a glimpse of the tight, loud and deranged funky swing that I imagine Jean to imagine in his electric dream...

electric dream


Outside in the Comète's courtyard we watched the most incredible and mesmerizing of electric colored skies linger over Parisian rooftops.

In view of a such dream 'n' light, is it any wonder then that in South Africa the French soccer team failed to score?

tags: La Comète 347, Paris, Jean Bordé

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