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20.7.05

New Piece by Jean Lambert-Wild

The Avignon Festival is under way. There was a little article by Brigitte Salino (À Saumane, sur le chemin des rêves, July 16) for Le Monde that I wanted to mention (my translation):

Finally, a time for dreaming. First, because you are leaving Avignon for the Château de Saumane, a few kilometers from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. The blue time is enveloping the hills as you go up the narrow road on the edge of the cliff, up to the medievalish gate of the château where a certain Marquis de Sade spent his childhood. It is here that a very peculiar man, Jean Lambert-Wild, and his alter ego in his work, composer Jean-Luc Therminarias, have chosen to present Mue-Première mélopée, a work born during a long voyage.

One night, Lambert-Wild learned in a dream that he had to go to Brazil. The next day, he took a map, closed his eyes, and put his finger down on a single point in that vast country. And he went there. What he has brought back whispers that it is good, sometimes, to follow the voices in dreams. The place he had pointed to on the map was the land of the Xavantes, an Indian community living in the state of Mato Grosso. Every day, at the rising and setting of the sun, the men came together in a circle for the Wara, a council where decisions are made during a ritual.

So here we were, too, in a circle around a raised area of red earth, where were seated, also in a circle, five Xavantes and three French women. To these circles we should add another one, of microphones in the trees. That arrangement, minima but sophisticated, freed us to imagine we were elsewhere, just as Mue-Première mélopée was telling us. It's a sung text, based on the Xavantes' myths, that suggests another way of being under the sky, of living as a man on the earth. Everything is simple and profound as in fairytales. So, we dream, we look at the stars, we breathe. The air is sweet, the sounds of Therminarias accompany it. It's not much and yet a lot: a night where the arc of dreams joins together two continents.
Lambert-Wild is a young performance artist. A second article on this work, by René Solis (Jean Lambert-wild et sa «Mue» inaboutie, July 15) for Libération, documents his other activities in Avignon this year (my translation):
Jean Lambert-wild is a busy young man. Throughout the festival, he is presenting a series of performances. For the opening week, in a remote place on the Île de la Barthelasse, he went every night to smash himself against a wall. Today and tomorrow, in the Frédéric-Mistral Pool, for an audience required to dress in swimming suits (mask and snorkel are optional), he is interpreting the confessions a diver seated on a stool, at the bottom of a large pool. To conclude, he has announced that he will enclose himself for 48 hours in a sarcophagus where, fed intravenously, he will have to watch nothing but a television showing 326 channels that only the visitors (paying at least 1 euro) will be able to change.
I found one other article on this strange work: Marie-José Sirach, Une forme vraiment très Xavante (L'Humanité, July 15). There is not much information on the music.

UPDATE:
Apparently, I misunderstood exactly what Lambert-Wild had planned for his final performance in Avignon, where he is enclosed in a sarcophagus watching television. The piece is called My Story is not a Loft, a reference to the terrible French reality TV show called Loft Story. Lambert-Wild is enclosed in a sarcophagus for 48 hours, he is fed intravenously, and he does watch a television, and only the visitors can change the channel. However, if you pay 1 euro to change the channel and do so, you will also be administering a small electric shock to the artist through electrodes attached to his skin. I am surprised that anyone has had the guts to do this, but apparently they have. See my followup post on July 30.

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