In October 2005, the "Festival du nouveau cinéma" in Montréal asked me to present a lecture on the making of "Liaisons" and "Rupture," the two films I had just completed with the National Film Board of Canada (onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/collection/film/?id=52499 and onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/collection/film/?id=52961).
Update: "Liaiisons" is now available in full on the NFB site: nfb.ca/film/liaisons_fr (please select the "1080p" quality option for best viewing experience).
That lecture was to be followed by a live performance, a "happening," during which the musicians Jean Derome (the composer of the music of "Liaisons" and "Rupture," and a formidable editing consultant as well), Joane Hétu and Pierre Tanguay would improvise music to images I would pluck (and rework) from those two films.
Joane and Pierre were amongst the select group of musicians Jean Derome had assembled to perform the music he had created for the/my/our two films.
I pulled many frames from those films, enlarged them, and started traveling "inside" with virtual cameras. This unveiled a world that, although "mine," had really never been seen before by me, at east that way.
In a few short weeks, I created well in excess of one hour of "animation" which I edited down to about 50 minutes, burnt to DVD, and projected during that live performance.
I had no music to go by when making the images, so I settled on something very familiar to me, very reliable, my breathing (following it).
I did not tell the musicians about this, but imagine my surprise (and immense gratitude) when, in the course of their remarkable improvisation, they began using their own breathing as if it were an instrument, even shaping their musical phrases on the (visual) breath rhythms.
This experience opened many doors for my work, I don't mean "career doors" (not important), I mean creative doors, doors through which I entered, never to return.
Intuitively exploring the "always-already-there" is to me far more rewarding than torturing one's brain in order to try to come up with "smart" new material.
This is not a piece that will satisfy those looking for entertainment and/or techno-plumbing effects as this is as close to a shamanic experience we, non-shamans, can aspire to.
I have continued to explore the world of live performance since, developing ways to improvise images in real-time as well (not "just" presenting my work on fixed media) and I have had the privilege to work with a genuine shaman (Stepanida Borisova). I can honestly say that what Jean, Joane and PIerre made manifest that evening of October 2005 in Montréal was "swimming" in the same waters I have threaded since with Stepanida (vimeo.com/tag:stepanidaborisova and vimeo.com/tag:stepanidaborissova).
So much of the visual material created for that performance has been the source of much of my work since, it is as if I can continuously return to the images of this "happening" and find bits, sequences, moments, that were/are just right for some moments in the newer things I have done and am doing since.
This was the very first time I had traveled inside "my" images, the very first time they would be allowed to move out of the frame, only to come back in whenever they felt like it.
This piece, done in 2005, has truly shaped all that has been done since.
It also made me fall in love with live performances, so much so that even my studio setup now utilizes much of the gear and processes I have developed for working in real-time.
Jean Derome (saxophones, flutes, small objects, voice) actuellecd.com/en/bio/derome_je/
Joane Hétu (saxophone, voice) actuellecd.com/en/bio/hetu_jo/
Pierre Tanguay (percussion, small objects, voice) actuellecd.com/en/bio/tanguay_pi/
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