Video Journal, 2012
He sat solemnly, quiet like a ghost. Swarms of people moving mindlessly around him, ignoring his intentions, blank faces in a sea of incredulous souls. Only a few lost cases gathered, smoking cigarettes, carrying on with their conversations. He ran his fingers on the white and black keys, looking down at his hands, admiring the instrument like the first time. Then, one single note rang in the air. Suspended in the midst of the traffic, it vanished as quickly as it had appeared, and the few who heard it have probably forgotten already. He didn’t care. After that, another note, this time less aggressive against the air. One after the other, his fingers danced on the neatly organized keys. His eyes were shut, and his back was crooked.
After the last note, he stood there, in that same position for a split second, as if he enjoyed the abrupt silence. Then he opened his eyes and slowly lifted his fingers. He looked at the people around him for the first time, and smiled. It was almost imperceptible, one of those crooked smiles that don’t mean much, just a little hint of appreciation for the few scattered claps the crowd had offered. The silence was still suspended in the air, the echoes of the piece quickly evaporating. Only the murmur of the streets, the vanishing laugh, the distant horn. He got up, and without any other reservation he left, mixing with the crowd.
I can barely remember the tune, but the moment persists. His ephemeral presence will stay with me for a long time. The street performer, ghost without a reason other than music.
Text and Video by Nil Tous