For­ma­tion Em­ma­nuelle Huynh & Ni­co­las Floc’h

In col­la­bo­ra­tion with ar­tist Ni­co­las Floc’h and mu­si­cian Mat­thieu Doze, Em­ma­nuelle Huynh has crea­ted a new cho­reo­gra­phic piece on the de­ve­lop­ment of forms.


Fas­ten to­ge­ther two car­bon rods using a ma­gne­ti­zed me­tal ball, create a sys­tem, take it apart to put it back to­ge­ther. The struc­ture Ni­co­las Floc’h de­si­gned for For­ma­tion, the up­co­ming piece by Em­ma­nuelle Huynh, is meant to be light, fluid and end­less­ly adap­table. If we were to learn how to aim for so­me­thing other than a par­ti­cu­lar re­sult, in op­po­si­tion to the way so­cie­ty teaches us to think, per­haps we could stu­dy the pro­cess, the way so­me­thing is for­med, as sug­ges­ted by this work’s title, which, as Huynh ex­plains in her En­glish text about it, means both for­ma­tion and trai­ning in French, and al­so re­fers to the trans­for­ma­tion of how we ex­pe­rience things. PART­NER­SHIPS This is not the first time Floc’h and Huynh have wor­ked to­ge­ther. Their first part­ner­ship was in 2000 for Bord, fol­lo­wed by Nu­mé­ro (2002) and La Feuille (2005). For Nu­mé­ro, crea­ted for La Mé­na­ge­rie de Verre, they wor­ked to­ge­ther on the cho­reo­gra­phy and the use of ma­te­rials (card­board boxes, ar­rows, fi­shing rods, etc.). They did the same for La Feuille, com­mis­sio­ned by the Centre d’Art de Châ­teau-Gon­tier, where they move around in­side two large red sheets of paper that conti­nuous­ly change shape as they slide, fold, are po­ked from wi­thin and so on. For For­ma­tion, Floc'h made an au­to­no­mous sculp­ture as part of his set de­si­gn, as he did for Bord, in which se­ve­ral tables rear­range them­selves. How can lear­ning so­me­thing, through at­tempts and fai­lures, be re­pre­sen­ted vi­sual­ly? Through the use of can­dy dough or ropes? It took se­ve­ral at­tempts be­fore the piece took its fi­nal form: for­ty-five car­bon rods held to­ge­ther by ma­gne­ti­zed me­tal orbs ac­ting as ball joints. Cons­truc­tions in space arise ra­pid­ly. The ve­ry flexible ar­ti­cu­la­tions re­main fra­gile. Eve­ry­thing de­pends on how much force the dan­cers use in ma­ni­pu­la­ting the rods and ma­gnets. A great ma­ny shapes are pro­du­ced, but they are ne­ver so­lid­ly construc­ted. They’re al­ways on the verge of col­lapse. Be­cause they are loo­king up at the rods, vie­wers can ima­gine them­selves as if deep wi­thin the struc­ture they form. There is a per­ma­nent rein­ven­tion, a cea­se­less re­cy­cling. Floc’h consi­ders this piece a “script/struc­ture.” Huynh consi­ders it a me­ta­phor for life, both trans­for­med and trans­for­ming. The same ma­te­rials can be used in dif­ferent ways. This ins­tal­la­tion cal­led Car­bone will al­so ap­pear in Floc’h’s show at the Brit­ta­ny regional art cen­ter ( GLAZ, Sep­tem­ber 15-No­vem­ber 26, 2017), ac­ti­va­ted by per­for­mers. Other ite­ra­tions at other art cen­ters, in ci­ties an­din land scapes,will be filme dand pro­jecte dons tage.Wh ile Car­bo­new as de­si­gnedf or For­ma­tion, it al­so has an exis­tence in its own right as a per­for­mance prop. In the ex­hi­bi­tion, the rods will be seen from be­low, like an ani­ma­ted constel­la­tion re­flec­ting un­der­sea mo­ve­ments. In the same room will be a Pe­tri dish filled with plank­ton that can keep the Earth ha­bi­table thanks to their abi­li­ty to ab­sorb car­bon and emit oxy­gen. It’s fun to ima­gine that if the ex­hi­bi­tion were to last a few mil­lion years, the han­ging car­bon rods could end up being ab­sor­bed by the green culture. When For­ma­tion was first being re­hear­sed ons­tage, Floc’h in­ter­ve­ned while the struc­ture was being fa­bri­ca­ted. “You could al­most say thatI be came an oc­ca­sio­nal out­side vie­wer.I no­ted when the mo­ve­ments across the stage and the rhythms wor­ked with the struc­ture. I loo­ked at the piece through the eyes of a visual ar­tist, in terms of the oc­cu­pa­tion of space. Em­ma­nuelle had other things to think about. She had to cho­reo­graph For­ma­tion.” Huynh likes t hep roc es­sof­co llec­ti­vec once p tua li­za­ti on. She’s used to wor­king with Floc’h, and al­so fre­quent­ly col­la­bo­rates with Mat­thieu Doze, the sound de­si­gner for For­ma­tion. “I work through a dia­logue with my part­ners. Ni­co­las and Mat­thieu were the first people I tal­ked to about this pro­ject.” BET­WEEN BO­DY AND LAN­GUAGE It all be­gan a de­cade ago, in 2007. Huynh was the di­rec­tor of the Centre Na­tio­nal de la Danse Contem­po­raine (CNDC) in An­gers. She read For­ma­tion, Pierre Guyo­tat’s au­to­bio­gra­phy as

part of her in­ter­ro­ga­tion of the trans­mis­sion of know­ledge: how to cir­cumvent the po­wer of au­tho­ri­ty that trans­forms sub­jec­tive choices in­to norms and makes them cir­cu­late ver­ti­cal­ly? In this book Guyo­tat de­fines the va­rious stra­ta hu­man beings are made of and su­per­im­poses the lo­wer-case and ca­pi­tal H ver­sions of his­to­ry, i.e., sto­ries and grand nar­ra­tives. That’s what she li­ked. “I pro­mi­sed my­self that one day I would make a dance piece not ba­sed on that book but sta­ging that ar­chi­pe­la­go of trans­for­ma­tions and re­cur­rences of which a life is com­pri­sed. A piece vi­sual­ly em­bo­dying the ques­tion of for­ma­tion as in­ci­si­ve­ly as Guyo­tat does in wri­ting. His bo­dy is at the end of his pen.” How to make the po­wer of the union bet­ween bo­dy and lan­guage felt, not through rea­ding but in wat­ching a stage per­for­mance? “I be­gan to read al­most eve­ry­thing Guyo­tat had writ­ten, his books such as Ar­rière fond (Ba­ck­drop, 2010), in­ter­views and what he cal­led his “textes-langues,” texts writ­ten to be read aloud. One of them, Le Livre (1984), was a di­rect source for For­ma­tion and pas­sages from it will be heard du­ring the per­for­mance. “There is a cor­po­ra­li­ty in its treat­ment of sound,” she ex­plains. Huynh and Doze im­mer­sed them­selves in the Mu­siques se­ries, where the au­thor re­calls his ear­liest me­mo­ries of mu­sic and the ove­rall sound en­vi­ron­ment he grew up in. “I real­ly like the way Mat­thieu deals with sound. He took Guyo­tat’s mo­ther’s fa­vo­rite piece of mu­sic, ex­pan­ded it and made it be heard as if it were co­ming from far away. As if we could reach out and touch it.” For her, Doze is a part­ner in the ful­lest sense. His vi­sion af­fects the whole piece. “For Mat­thieu, like me, there was no ques­tion of hea­ring the text at the same time as wat­ching the dance; that would have been too illus­tra­tive. Guyo­tat’s text will be heard in dark­ness, as if were a kind of bath, a ba­ck­drop. It’s such a po­wer­ful text… The va­rious me­dia used on stage such as ligh­ting and sound will be in­de­pendent of each other ra­ther than one do­mi­na­ting ano­ther. Each will tell the sto­ry in its own way.” ME­MO­RIES OF THE BO­DY Four ages will be re­pre­sen­ted ons­tage to re­present four ge­ne­ra­tions: A ve­ry young girl (Imane Al­gui­ma­ret), a young man (Joa­quim Pa­vy), a ma­ture man (Nu­no Bi­zar­ro) and an el­der­ly wo­man (Kate Gi­quel) will per­form in va­rious si­tua­tions and confi­gu­ra­tions. All com­bi­na­tions are pos­sible. These si­tua­tions will un­fold through the dan­cing. “I work ba­sed on what people give me. I wasn’t used to wor­king with ba­bies and old wo­men. I had to find new tools, real­ly search and think about what to do.” Af­ter a se­ries of im­pro­vi­sa­tions, names were gi­ven to mo­ments ma­te­ria­li­zed on a do­zen sheets of graph paper with co­lo­red squares that made it pos­sible to no­tate and show the dance like a re­bus. “I wan­ted Imane to say things by dan­cing.” Du­ring re­hear­sals, the work was or­ga­ni­zed in­to duos, trios and quar­tets. “I try to look for so­me­thing in people’s per­so­nal ex­pe­riences and work with their me­mo­ries. How do you re­mem­ber so­me­thing that is stuck in some part of your bo­dy.” Life just has to burst through: some things can on­ly be said by the bo­dy.

Trans­la­tion, L-S Tor­goff Em­ma­nuelle Huynh Née en 1963. Vit et tra­vaille à Rennes, Saint-Na­zaire, Nantes, Pa­ris, Nîmes, São Pau­lo et Port-Louis. 1994 Múa 2004-2012 Di­rec­trice du CNDC à An­gers 2014 Tô­zai !... Ni­co­las Floc’h Né en 1970. Vit et tra­vaille à Pa­ris. 2014 Struc­tures pro­duc­tives, Ga­le­rie des Pon­chettes, MAMAC, Nices; Art connexion, Lille 2015 Le Grand Troc, MAC/VAL, Vi­try-sur-Seine ; Les Villes im­mer­gées, Mu­sée des beaux-arts, Ca­lais

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