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Bill Drummond & The17, Score 328: SURROUND

samedi 24 novembre à 15h
Dans le cadre de l’exposition ‘balises’ à Piano Nobile

english version below

Bill Drummond, ancien membre du groupe KLF, est une figure importante de la scène musicale britannique.
Dans sa pratique de performance actuelle, il s'intéresse à un retour à l'expérience et à la voix, contre la toute-présence de la musique enregistrée, disponible partout et tout le temps.

Il recherche 100 personnes à Genève pour réaliser une grande performance dans l'espace public, qui pourrait se résumer ainsi:

tracer un cercle de 5km sur une carte – se mettre le long du cercle – à distance de voix – faire passer un cri – d’une personne à l’autre – cinq fois – s’en souvenir – plus tard


INFORMATIONS PRATIQUES

RDV
le samedi 24 novembre à 15h à Piano Nobile, 76 route des Acacias, 1227 Genève-Acacias
(tram 15, arrêt Jacques Pictet-Thellusson / Train R, arrêt Lancy-Pont-Rouge)

DEROULEMENT
Introduction par Bill Drummond
Performance dans les environs de Piano Nobile
Retour à Piano Nobile pour un thé chaud et la visite de l’exposition ‘balises’
Durée environ 1h30
La performance aura lieu en extérieur et par tous les temps.

INSCRIPTIONS
surroundgeneva@gmail.com

Bill Drummond (*1953) est une figure centrale de la scène britannique, aussi bien dans le domaine de la musique que du happening et de la performance. Dans les années 80, il fonde KLF (Kopyright Liberation Front ou Kings of the Low Frequencies), groupe pionnier du son « stadium house », qui mêle acid house, hip-hop, pop et influences rock. Également producteur (il fonde plusieurs labels indépendants), son champ d’action dépasse largement la musique et rejoint la performance et le happening. Parfois provocateur (comme lorsqu’il brûle 1mo de dollars en 1994 – ce qui restait de l’argent gagné avec KLF –, ou qu’il découpe en 20'000 morceaux une photo de Richard Long achetée 20’000$ en 2001), il s’intéresse avant tout à l’idée d’expérience et de confrontation. Travaillant le plus souvent en collaboration, Bill Drummond brouille les pistes et apparaît où on ne l’attend pas, se renouvelant sans cesse.

Sa réflexion sur l’art touche tous les domaines et il affirme que « l’art devrait utiliser n’importe quoi, être partout », que l’artiste peut « utiliser n’importe quel médium disponible ». C’est aussi dans une volonté de confronter l’art et la vie qu’il organise des performances collaboratives. À partir d’une réflexion sur le statut de la musique aujourd’hui, notamment de la musique enregistrée et disponible partout, Bill Drummond a conçu la performance « Score 328: SURROUND ». Elle se situe dans le cadre du projet « The17 », qui propose de vivre la musique d’une manière plus expérientielle et personnelle – partant de la voix collective comme un retour aux fondamentaux.
« Score 328: SURROUND » est une performance qui implique une centaine de personnes, disposées sur un cercle d’une circonférence d’environ 5km, à intervalles déterminés par la portée de voix entre deux personnes. L’action consiste à faire passer un cri d’une personne à l’autre, qui fera cinq fois le tour du cercle ; ainsi chaque personne devient un élément nécessaire de l’action collective, une sorte de coordonnée géographique, vivante et mouvante, qui entre en interaction avec les autres participants et « fait système », prend sens. Attendant son tour pour crier, chacun peut s’imaginer le son au-dessus de la ville, écoutant ce cri continu. La performance est autant une expérience physique que mentale, l’idée de sa remémoration des années plus tard étant aussi partie intégrante de l’œuvre.

Déjà réalisée dans plusieurs villes, « Score 328: SURROUND » résonne singulièrement avec chaque lieu ; parlant du lien et des échanges entre les gens, aussi bien que de notre expérience de la musique et plus généralement de l’art, elle prend aussi des colorations sociales et politiques. A Londres s’est ainsi déroulée début 2012 une performance prévue originellement à Damas, et qui n’a pu être réalisée sur place étant donné le contexte politique. Transposée dans la ville de Londres, elle reprenait le tracé des murs de Damas, les participants étaient principalement des exilés syriens. A Genève, l’action intervient dans le cadre de l’exposition BALISES, qui sera inaugurée à Piano Nobile le même jour ; en relation avec les problématiques abordées dans l’exposition, elle résonne plus largement avec la ville, aussi bien d’un point de vue urbanistique (elle s’inscrira dans le quartier du PAV [Praille-Acacias-Vernet] en pleine transformation), géographique, ou de politique internationale.  La 10e et toute dernière étape de « Score 328: SURROUND » aura lieu après Genève à Jérusalem, où elle aura une portée encore différente et résonnera évidemment de manière tout à fait spéciale.

A Genève, les 100 personnes inscrites seront invitées à se retrouver à Piano Nobile le 24 novembre à 15h. Elles devront choisir entre deux options pour participer à la performance : être rémunéré ou payer – 1 franc symbolique qui permet de questionner l’implication du public dans cette action.


B A L I S E S

24 novembre 2012 – 12 janvier 2013
Vernissage le samedi 24 novembre à 18h

Jill Baroff (USA) / Daniel Gustav Cramer (D) / Bill Drummond (GB) / Hamish Fulton (GB) / Eric Hattan (CH)
Dunja Herzog (CH) / Rune Peitersen (DK) / Alexander Schellow (D) / Charlotte Seidel (D) / Alexia Turlin (CH)
Commissariat de l’exposition : Isaline Vuille

Ouverture
Du jeudi au samedi, de 15h à 19h et sur rendez-vous
Du 27 décembre au 5 janvier : sur rendez-vous uniquement

Visites commentées
Samedi 8 décembre à 17h
Jeudi 10 janvier à 19h

English version

BILL DRUMMOND & THE17 - ‘SCORE 328’

In the context of the exhibition ‘balises’, which will open on the same day at Piano Nobile, performance by Bill Drummond & The17 ‘Score328 : SURROUND’, Saturday November 24 at 3 pm.

Bill Drummond (*1953) is a former member of the group KLF, and an important figure of the music and artistic scene in GB. Since more than ten years, his performance practice could be described as a ‘back to basics’, back to experience and voice, a reaction against the overwhelming presence of the recorded music, available anywhere and anytime.

At present, he is looking for 100 participants to realise with him a large scale performance in the urban context of Geneva that could be resumed like this:

draw a 5km circle on a map – each person stands at one point around the circle – voice distance – make a call – from one person to another – five times – remember that experience – later



INFORMATION

MEETING POINT
On Saturday November 24, at 3 pm, at Piano Nobile, 76 route des Acacias, 1227 Genève-Acacias
(tram 15, stop Jacques Pictet-Thellusson / Train R, stop Lancy-Pont-Rouge)

PROCESS
Introduction by Bill Drummond
Performance in the area of Piano Nobile
Back at Piano Nobile for a hot tea and a visit of the show ‘balises’
Duration around 1.30 hour
The performance is made outside and will take place by any weather.

INSCRIPTIONS
surroundgeneva@gmail.com

PARTICIPATION
1CHF
The participants have to choose between two options to participate to the performance: pay or being paid – 1 symbolic franc to question how the public is implicated in this action.

CONTACT
Isaline Vuille
+79 488 38 84
isalinevuille@gmail.com

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The17 in Geneva – presentation by Bill Drummond

The voices in my head must have always been there, but it was not until sometime in the very early years of this century did they start clamoring to get out. This coincided with a time in the history of music where music was so ubiquitous that it was possible in theory to listen to any piece of recorded music, from the entire 100 year history of recorded music, wherever you were, at whatever time, while doing almost anything. For many a music lover this was what he / she had dreamed of all their lives. I was one of those music lovers, I had done the dreaming, but then something started to happen, it was something to do with the voices in my head.

This ubiquity of recorded music inspired me to want to make music using the voices in my head. Music that was about time, place and occasion. Music that you could not hear wherever, whenever, while doing almost whatever. I wanted to make music that was not product, music that if you wanted to hear, you had to be part of the making of it. Music that was not made by the anointed, for us the unwashed. Thus music you could never buy on a CD, listen to on the radio. Music that did not exist to be a soundtrack or to sell a product. Music, no matter how much you searched the internet, you would never find.

In my imagination, I was seeing the 20th century as the century where the technology to record music had seduced nearly all forms of music into becoming one genre and that genre being Recorded Music. Every form of music that was now on sale at iTunes had morphed into this one genre, be it classical, jazz, world, urban, folk etc. they had all become the same thing. And what defined this genre was that it could be turned off and on and be bought and sold. For me the heralding of the age of the internet, where music’s monetary worth was in a complete state of flux had the effect of marking the point in time where folk in future will look back at the 20th century as the century where the art form that was Recorded Music began its descent into being a has-been art form. An art form in terminal decline. A point in time when a new, as yet unknown music will begin to rise and take shape, a new era where music will be freed from the shackles of being a recorded commodity. I was fuelled by an almost naïve idealism about what was happening and what was possible.

It was those voices in my head, which took the shape of some unruly and almost discordant choir that showed me the way forward. If I could only liberate those voices from my skull and turn them into an out there shared reality, maybe a year zero in music would be possible and these voices could herald the new dawn of a post recorded music era. This choir already had a name, long before I mentioned it to any one else – The17. There was no real reason for the name of the choir, although I have made up numerous reasons over the past decade.

I knew I did not want the music of The17 to rely on melody, rhythm or words. I wanted it to start from as basic a form as possible, a form that was hardly music. A music where there was only the collective human voice, where it would be the combined soul of everyone taking part in the performance that would give it its strength, leaving nothing down to mere individual genius or star status.

It is over these past ten years that I have been trying to explore what The17 might be, and how it could function. First and foremost it was to have no fixed line up, it could be whoever was there, for however long the performances lasted. I wanted The17 to exist and perform in ways and places that had nothing what so ever to do with any other existing traditions – an impossible dream I know. Secondly there would never be an audience for The17, if you wanted to hear The17 perform, you had to be part of The17. Thirdly and most importantly, The17 are never recorded for posterity. The only thing that is left after a performance by The17 is what is left in their memories.

January 2006 is when I started to go public with The17 and those voices in my head were liberated and began coming out of other peoples mouths. I instigated performances across Europe. At the same time as this I was writing numerous very simple text based scores to be used as starting points for these performances. I also encouraged other people to write scores to be performed by The17.

In 2008, The17 set out on a 40 date worldwide tour called Coast-to-Coast. But this would be a sporadic, fits and starts tour. A tour that would stretch over five years. It would include 20 performances within the British Isles and each performance featuring a different score. Each of these performances would be twinned with a performance of the same score somewhere else in the world. The17 at all of these performances would be primarily made up of people local to the area. Some of these performances would be so intimate that they would involve no more than one person, others have involved thousands taking part at one time. There were scores to celebrate the birth of a new child another to celebrate someone’s life once it has been completed. One to be performed at the top of a mountain another while you are lying in bed in the morning, where all that is required from you is to listen to all the sounds you can hear in turn before you get up.

* * *

Then there is the score that The17 will be performing in Geneva on the 24 November 2012. This will be Score 328: SURROUND. I hope that this score is printed alongside this text, thus there will be no reason for me to explain the logistics of how it works. What I will tell you is that City-to-City is a parallel world tour to Coast-to-Coast. But this protracted world tour consists of ten performances of SURROUND within ten different cities around the world. The performance of it in Geneva will be its ninth. I will not go through each of the dates so far, but will tell you that there was a performance in Beijing, China, where the 100 members of The17 taking part were all market stall holders in a massive sprawling market and there was no perfect circle drawn on a map, but the cry was carried up and down the lanes of the market, travelling the five kilometers until it got back to where it started.

As for Damascus, Syria, the plan was that the performance was to take place around the medieval city walls that so happens were just over 5K in circumference. But the Arab Spring and ensuing civil war prevented the performance happening as planned. Instead the performance took place in London with the majority of The17 taking part being Syrians in exile. This performance followed the outline of the Damascus city walls drawn on to a map of London.

With each performance to date of SURROUND, whatever the location or weather condition, there has been a unifying power. This power comes from taking part in something that you may have to wait over an hour in your position before you make your first cry and in that hour you are bound to question the validity of the thing and how come you are wasting your time in taking part. But this is balanced with the knowledge that if you abandon your post and head for home, there will be link in the chain missing and you will be letting down the other 99 members of The17 taking part. Another very powerful part of it is when after waiting however long it is, that you hear in the distance the cry being passed from individual to individual as it gets closer to you. And as it gets closer a fear and anxiety builds up in you until it is your turn to make the cry. And suddenly a sense of relief sweeps through your body as you hear the cry that you have passed on, being repeated again and then again and then… until it disappears into the distance, lost in the other sounds of the city.

In a sense this is a score that is hardly music at all, but I hope will live on in the memories of all those that take part as one of the musical highlights of their life.

The tenth and final performance of SURROUND is to be performed across the rooftops of Jerusalem next Spring. A performance that need not take any notice of how the city is politically or religiously divided up.

On the evening of the 28 April 2013, a very intimate performance by The17 will mark the end of my involvement with choir. On the 29 April, I will turn 60, time for a new chapter in my life to begin.