L’oiseau qui plane et ne cesse d’agrandir son cercle
Mélanie Bédard is welcomed as creator-in residence at Avatar from May 23 to June 13, 2023.
The meal as symbolic rite – The table is a gathering place where mealtimes are crystallized; a simple ceremony for everyday life and momentous events. The table, regardless of time or place, is witness to scenes of blossoming love and friendship, of sharing and debate. A privileged observer of our adventures, choreography of living together and etiquette, the meal sets the stage for eloquent routine gestures and mannerisms as amusing as they can be annoying. Dynamic, full of festive mayhem, magical and memorable moments, the meal is a source of joyful, clamorous and rhythmic sound. Palimpsest-like, the table’s surface harbors the weathered traces of these evanescent moments.
The core of this project unfolds as the feast sparks a friendship between four women artists while painting a fantasized portrait of their thoughts and destinies. As the women bond together, magic is afoot, and the verve of each is depicted through these themes: exploration and delirium of matter, know-how, gestures, great rituals and little idiosyncrasies, as well as through the states of temporality explored: landscape-memory, phantasmagoria and flashbacks.
I set up a creative laboratory, an open, intuitive and empirical reflection in which four women artists were invited to a thought-matter dialogue. Exploration and filming took place in an in-residency controlled environment at Recto-Verso, Bande Vidéo and Avatar, mainly between summer 2017 and summer 2021. Over fifteen artists and artisans have been involved in the project since its inception. For each of the four seated at the table, I illuminate reality so as to glide towards a phantasmagorical vision of their worlds. Over time, I created four portraits, four distinct audiovisual databases designed to map out their personalities. As the quartet remains faceless and voiceless, viewers will access their inner landscapes through their hands performing on the table, through a choreography of gestures and actions, through each artist’s matter of exploration, the camera’s unusual points of view and a particular sound color.
The title, L’oiseau qui plane et ne cesse d’agrandir son cercle, is a sentence fragment collected from Cinéma 1, l’image-mouvement by Gilles Deleuze, collection “Critique”, page 50. For me, it represents individuality and, at the same time, the pursuit of connection, the need to glide solo, to fly away into our inner landscapes, and the urge to see things through the eyes of others, to broaden our views and transform them. The same is true during a meal, a celebration when we are somehow alone together. A moment when snippets intersect, rise and intermingle on various levels to become disjunct and part of a greater movement. A space-time in which we are aware that our mental images are colored or triggered by this presence of the other, by a shared thought or even by a simple gesture. The pleasure in watching the materialization of things you imagined! This principle governs the artistic direction of the project in all aspects, as is the choice of journeying artistically within a collective for the first time. It is also directly in line with the visuals and spatial arrangement of the sound. By way of example, the multiple camera movements – rotating, flying, falling! high-angle, low-angle, vanishing points or traveling shots – reflect the 4 personalities or reveal spaces between two worlds, two seasons, two incongruous objects, two insights. Sound is no different – the very close, the far away, the ambient, the background, the somewhat musical, the noise of things – exploration and rhythmic play becoming delightful abysms!
At Avatar, I’ll be joined by Alexandre Berthier and Simon Elmaleh in creating a flourish and textures of sound befitting the grand meal scene, as well as some utopias or flashbacks specific to certain “characters”. Concurrently, the installation object – a sound table acting as a screen – will be built, and the programming for the spatial arrangement of sounds can be developped.
Mélanie Bédard lives in Saint-Michel de Bellechasse and works in Québec City where she has been involved in the organization of artistic events for over 20 years. She completed a DEC in fine arts in her hometown of Trois-Rivières, holds a master’s degree in visual arts (2010) and a bachelor’s degree from Université Laval and from the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Marseille in 2001.
A professional installation artist, her work has been presented in several artist-run centers in Quebec, including Regart, L’œil du Poisson, VU PHOTO, Espace F, Caravansérail, Atelier Silex and L’Écart – lieu d’art actuel – as well as at numerous events and festivals in Montreal, Marseille, Paris and Berlin. Her research focuses on the paradigm of perception and the notion of time and memory through landscape. An experiential and introspective landscape, place of interaction between beings, places and things. To create images, she relies on video, photography and sound, materials presented in the form of installations or manoeuvres. She is the recipient of several residency, production and dissemination grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Première Ovation program.
In parallel to her creative work, Mélanie has been actively involved in her field of expertise since 2001, notably through the creation and coordination of artistic events and as a freelance video director and editor. She has worked as a museum video capsule creator for Cinémanima, exhibition director at Rouje arts et événements, general coordinator at La Bande Vidéo and coordinator of the Symposium Émergence at L’ilot Fleurie. She has also been creating, developing and coordinating various collective exhibitions and events such as Klondike, sound design for a skating rink in 2012.
Joining Productions Recto Verso in 2014, she initially acts as general coordinator of the Mois Multi international festival. Since 2019, she is the general and programming director for the organization.
Alexandre Berthier’s artistic practice evolves within three fields: visual arts, media arts and performing arts. In most of his projects, he collaborates with other artists. His exhibitions and multimedia performances have been presented in the UK, France, the USA, Peru, the Czech Republic and Quebec, at festivals such as Mois Multi, Bains Numériques, Nouveau Cinéma, Sounds like, PHOS…
He produces video and audio works for various organizations and artists (Théâtre Rude Ingénierie, Orchestre d’Hommes Orchestres, Code Universel, Carrefour de théâtre, MNBAQ, Manif d’Art, Festival d’Été, OSQ, Mois Multi, Musée de la Civilisation … ).
He’s also a DJ, and has been for as long as music has enchanted him.
Simon Elmaleh lives and works in Québec City. Audio artist, performer, creator, tinkerer and musician, founding-member of Lodho, his unruly trajectory is punctuated by singular intentions and motley collaborations. A frequent contributor to various creative companies, he adapts his approach to suit each production. His work has been presented in over fifteen countries.
Les Productions Recto-Verso
La Bande Vidéo
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Guillaume D. Cyr
Josée Landry Sirois
Pierre-Olivier Fréchet-Martin, directeur technique et de production
Les Serres Naturo, Ginette, Léo et Geneviève