Fish learn from the water that we drown in
(Festival des Ephémères #4 [1/2])

july 10, 2013.

[ jump to the second part: E t c ... ]

I do not know how the weather has been treating you, but in the French capital this year's spring and summer only really kicked in over the last weekend of June, together with two sunny fringe festivals.

In the south-east, just a little outside the périphérique, on the evenings of Friday June 28th and Saturday June 29th, the 9th edition of Tales for Tapes at Kobé provided a 2-night next-celebration of the audio cassette's 50th anniversary. You will find my thoughts and more about that in one of the SoundBlog's subsequent entries. (Lang Leve Lou Ottens!)

The second event that weekend was the 4th edition of the Festival des Ephémès in the Jardins d'Eole, a public garden in the north-east of Paris, bordering on the dense pack of railway tracks that lead to and from the railway station Gare de l'Est, where for a second time with Anthony Carcone, Jacques Foschia and Cécile Zylberacjch we set up on the Eole plaza as E t c ..., to perform and record a new series of urban (un)nature-scapes outdoors.

Precisely one year ago I wrote about the 3rd edition of the Festival des Ephémès. In A Forest Hanging From A Tree you can read more about the festival's background and the Henokia association that organizes it. The event's general set-up and presentation this year were basically the same. The main differences being that, due to lesser fundings, there were only two Festival days instead of three, and that this year the Festival's theme was not tree, but: water...


Indeed! Water inspired the ephemeral fluidity of many of the tones, movements and colors that on these two bright and warm afternoons could be heard and seen within the confines of the Eole Gardens. A fluid dynamics that gave us bubbles, drops and jets; that came with a lot of whites and a lot of blues; like the one bursting of Jean-Gabriel Manolis's wet dress, who was erring like an undead suicide-by-drowning along the gardens' paths and across its lawns.


Philippe Desclais and Stéphanie Briand's NowCut probably came closest to an authentic water music, for which they had brought a number of ingenious constructions. (Here's link to a Vine of one of their Saturday's performances.)


Sébastien Branche regularly dipped his soprano sax in various recipients filled with colored soapy liquids, which besides all the bubbles as a welcome bonus must have thoroughly cleansed his instrument's bell.


Though from the look of it, Emmanuelle Mailly's set-up may have seemed pretty much of the un-watery kind, I am pretty sure there was water in there as well. Somewhere...


The two washing machines that were rolled in at the end of second afternoon reminded me of our washing days at Montreuil's La Machinante, now long gone. It did look as if a complete outdoors Laundromat was about to open up for business. And would not installing, for the duration of the Festival, a fully functional, and thoroughly amplified Ephemeral Laundromat (free coins for all!), have made this years edition into even more of an au bonheur? And not only des laveurs!


Just imagine such an outdoors washer ensemble, lined up facing the stone stairs (the tribune by default when the garden is a theatre). All could sit there and watch the grand public washing, reflect upon its socio-economical critique, and discuss the politics of it all. Just imagine its fully amplified roarings and the aleatory mix it would make with the rattling and squeaking of the passing trains, the shouting of kids playing and... Think musique concrète, futuristm, da-da, post-industrial crisis management, creative industry! Et cetera, et cetera, e t c ... It would have been a majestic crown on these past four years of Henokia's hard work, bringing uncompromising art, full and unabridged, home to a less favored part of the Parisian population... But alas! A mere reverie... For the two impressive machines had not been hauled in to wash. They were sort of like oversized envelopes: inside their bellies were hidden a great many messages of artists and inhabitants from the neighborhood that Les Art Et Mouvants had collected on a number of days earlier this year, on the esplanade of these very Eole Gardens.

Together they made up a giant parchment cadavre exquis.


The cadavre was unveiled and its multilingual content read out loud by Laurent Schuh (with, arguably, a typically French sense for drama and theatrality), while many of the participating artists put their hearts and souls into a collective improvisation. A post-meta-post-performance under a setting sun. "The urban man's alternative to a gas attack during wartime," Rinus van Alebeek sighed, be it with hindsight. But for residents who witnessed also other editions of the Festival, this recurring ritual by now must have become the unmistakable and dead sure sign that summer indeed has begun.

Oh yes! There was a lot of happiness in Eole Gardens on the 29th and 30th of June! Eternal happiness for all from all through ephemeral jumping, dancing, twisting and sounding; but also by sitting and drinking and chatting with friends. Like Rinus van Alebeek, who was in town for the Tales for Tapes. He could be seen wandering through the peaceful Parisian garden, shooting Vines on his Nexus, and more often than not laughing out loud when happily reviewing the results. Or like Jean Bordé, who was there to happily accompany Azusa Kurokawa's dancing on the lawn - "comme un pinceau qui voyage sur la toile de l'inconscient" - with his double bass. (Or rather: what was left of it, for Jean and his bass proved as accident prone as ever.)


It brought some consolation for the fact that Jean missed the trio play appointment with Rinus van Alebeek and myself on Friday evening, when at Kobé's Tales for Tapes the three of us should have been Al'Ajeri. Which itself already was a plan B, for Diktat could not play because Rébus had had earlier obligations at the Déserts Numériques festival in the far away Saint-Nazaire-le-Désert (where he taught the 16 pupils of the village's only school class to use software to transform drawings of the nearby mountains into sound, and more). No Diktat. But without Jean also no Al'Ajeri. As a result, Rinus and I went for plan C, and set out on a Hollands Spoor.


OK. For what it's worth. There you go.

Now you know almost all there is to know about the Festival des Ephémères, apart from the small handful of performances that I did not catch myself on either of the two days, and consequently can not tell you much about.

But what still remains to be recounted though, is how E t c ... fared in these two days in the gardens... Click on this link, or the cardboard box image below to find out.


tags: E t c ..., Paris, Henokia, Festival des Ephémères, water

# .440.

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