With Cathy Heyden on alto saxophone, Emmanuel Rébus playing his arturio microfreak and myself generating strings of square wave tones scripted in Sonic Pi, on Sunday January 17th 2021 we entered Anaïs Gauthier's Systemic Failure installation at La Générale Nord-Est, which provided stage, context and accompanying soundscape for the recording of Lento (slowly), our contribution to the Transonic label's series of 'Winter 2020-2021 No Lockdown Sessions'. Listen to Lento on Bandcamp, or go (slowly) on Soundcloud.

3 min read 🤓

Lento (slowly)

february 21, 2021

"It was Fano’s plane, and we stuck to Fano’s plan."

Also in these pseudo-confined corona times, there is a lot happening at La Générale. It's been more than a year since the collective moved from the avenue Parmentier in the 11th arrondissement to new premises in the 14th, sort of a 1970s style concrete 'underground bunker' on the corner of the rue Gassendi and rue Mouton-Duvernet, formerly home to the Darius Milhaud conservatory, the 14th arrondissement's municipal music school.

à La Générale

There are but few opportunities these days to (legally) organise public presentations. But also in the unconfined future these will necessarily be limited, in any case in audience size, due to the building's totally different structure, consisting in a labyrinth of a great many small and low rooms rather than one huge and high one. But the many artists and activists that seize the opportunities provided by and at La G for meetings and (mainly short term) work residencies, make that despite the continuing lock-down(s) the place is very much alive indeed.

La Générale

One of the artists that recently resided at La G, and for a relatively extended period of time, was French visual artist Anaïs Gauthier. From early September 2020 to the end of January 2021, Anaïs realised and exposed at La G an installation consisting in a moving and evolving sculpture named « Défaillance Systémique », Systemic Failure.

It is a closed triangular structure, a clockwork in which soft and flabby 'organic' forms, white flesh-like humps, reminiscent of the humanoid shapes in Bacon paintings and the slaughtered oxen and carcasses of beef that we know from e.g. canvases that came to us from Rembrandt's school, keep going round and round and round, in a mechanical process that continuous to slowly drag them along the cables that connect the triangle's points, in a perpetual translation inducing their wear and tear. Or maybe it is more than merely translation: it is an abuse, a maltreatment that causes the forms to slowly and painfully degrade and decompose.


Anaïs Gauthier- Défaillance Systémique
Anaïs Gauthier- Défaillance Systémique
Anaïs Gauthier- Défaillance Systémique

Here is a short video montage that Rébus did using a number of different clips made of the « Défaillance Systémique », which shows a number of close-ups of the fascinating mechanics of Anaïs' installation and its 'failing systemics', its wear, its tear.

On Sunday January 17th 2021 Anaïs put her « Défaillance Systémique » in motion for Cathy Heyden, Rébus and me, as stage and context for a recording commissioned by Philippe Franck's Transonic label, to be included in their Winter 2021 No Lockdown Sessions.


Caught inside fields woven from an endlessly permuting series of wavering electro-notes and -lines, Cathy’s saxophone followed the looping trajectory of the three amorphous, wet and dripping object-points sculpted and molded by Anaïs, sometimes with hesitation, at others with indignation, sometimes with joy, at others with anger, caught inside the rigid and merciless grid of a small, closed world, sufficient unto itself.


“There is no meaning, no salvation, no way in, no way out. It was Fano’s plane, and we stuck to Fano’s plan.”


Then watch Rébus's montage of a number of short clips that Howie Reeves, a friend of Cathy's, shot during our recording session on her smartphone:

The track is also available on Bandcamp:

tags: lento, transonic, anaïs gauthier, cathy heyden

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