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Interview of Anne-Laure Chamboissier with Cécile le Talec

1- As part of the "Living in Place" programme, you are redeploying the work Nuées, conceived in 2017 at the Abbey of Cluny, to the collegiate church of Bueil in Touraine. This sculptural installation is made up of different pavilions evoking gramophones as well as the shape of marine whirlpools. Sound and nature are often linked in your work, I would like you to tell us more about it.

I conceived this sound sculpture, in a first version that took the form of a set of 5 pavilions, in 2015 for an exhibition at the Centre d’art contemporain Château des Adhémar in Montélimar. This work was an extension of a series of productions made in response to a video film recorded in Japan, at the Naruto site where the waters mix, where the raging whirlpools of the Pacific roar and hiss as they form and disappear with the tides. So there was a very close reference between the shape of the sculptures, the shape of the sea whirlpools and the sounds they generate. These whirlpools resemble representations of black holes. For this work, I worked with a potter, Jean-Jacques Dubernard. After observing for a long time the gesture of his hands, which flush and compress the clay during the shaping process on the wheel, I thought that there was a real correspondence between the gesture and the shape of the endless whirlpool. The force of the hand pressure seemed almost analogous to the oceanic forces that form the surface eddies. So in this work there is a correspondence between the gesture, the force, the form and the sound produced. The reference to the bell of the gramophone appeared to me as an obvious one...
This pavilion/whirlpool amplifies the sound produced by a circular rotation and by the friction of materials in a mechanical, manual or natural rhythm... The sounds I record for diffusion in sound sculptures are very often sounds recorded in architecture, in cities or in nature (forests, mountains, caves, oceans...). These sounds constitute the matrix of the works to come, their "melodies" induce the forms which contain them.

2-The sound material of this piece has a very telluric quality and resonates in the space as if it were inhabited by whispers. How did you think about this sound composition? And does it precede the making of the piece?

For the Abbaye of Cluny, I decided in 2017, to modify and amplify the number of "pavilions" in order to create a sound sculpture on the scale of the exhibition space. Thus, 10 pavilions were installed on the floor and scattered like a flock of birds linked together by the wires/cables of the loudspeakers. These black ceramics of different shapes and sizes exposed and diffused the sounds recorded during the day and night in the abbey. The composition that was created made it possible to hear what was not ordinarily perceived (the creaking of doors, footsteps, wind, voices...birdsong) the sounds met, joined and diffused inside the loudspeaker. These swirls of earth invited the spectator to cross the space listening to the rustles and whispers amplified on the ground.
For the Abbaye of Bueil, I decided to re-compose a sound work from the sounds and noises that inhabit the abbey and to offer the spectator/listener an in situ sound exploration... what we hear is what we do not suspect. The sounds that inhabit the architecture and its environment will be worked on, chiselled, broken down in order to compose a melodic material from found noises. This new installation will offer a re-configured version of "Nuées", conceived specifically for the site of the Abbey of Bueil.

3- In a text in 2016, Florian Gaité rightly pointed out that in your work the visual, the haptic (1) and the auditory are levelled on the same plane of sensitivity. It seems to me that you are no exception to the rule with "Nuées". Are you trying to give the spectator a sensitive experience where all the senses are awakened without any pre-established hierarchy ?

This sculpture, a set of black horns placed on the ground, is exposed as a colony of vibrating and living sound matter that one must approach as closely as possible to hear the discreet but nonetheless audible murmurs. These pavilions emit sound frequencies, they whisper together and separately. The spectators are thus invited to search for the sounds and voices in the space, they move and their trajectories induce a composition always in movement. This experience of space through the presence of sculptures is an invitation to listen to the geniuses of the place...

(1) 1) Haptics, from the Greek ἅπτομαι (haptomai) meaning "I touch", refers to the discipline that explores and exploits the sense of touch and kinaesthetic phenomena, i.e. the perception of the body in the environment, by analogy with acoustics or optics.