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Interview with Emmanuel Mailly and Elie Blanchard, authors of the unclassifiable performance Rodeo Ranger.


Issuing from the noise scene in the 90’s, Emmanuel Mailly is one of these self taught and instinctive musicians who knew how to step back from music considering that each object hides infinite sound matter.  He tirelessly sculpts vibrant, shouting, noisy, rubbing, caressing, hitting strata, a raw bursting forth that deliciously combines and entwines.  Guided by intuition, he shares this frantic search for the moment, for the gesture and the exploration of margins with Elie Blanchard.

Elie Blanchard, also known as Yro in his performances, explores a new cinematographic language, maintaining a special relationship to matter, to deformations, to the process and to a narrative dimension covered with traces, vestiges and sensations.  In this performance he makes the whole film from photographs that he manipulates.

I met them in January 2016 when they were in residence at the Grange à Musique in Creil (after some time working at Asca de Beavais last year) to finish the writing of their first performing collaboration, a poignant assembly of fragments of a journey conceived with young refugees from Aisne.   It’s a sort of cine-concert but the sound and the image are created live and the story is more a documentary essay than a fiction.

What was the starting point for this creation?

Elie Blanchard: I met Emmanuel Mailly at the Visionsonic festival that I co – programmed with Robin Kobrynski from the V-Atak label.  Emmanuel was giving a performance with the artist Haythem Zakaria.  His process of sound creation by piling up live created material spoke a lot to me of my experimentations at the time in my performance Eile and in my rostrum device. The opportunity to work together arrived 6 years later when Emmanuel was finishing the writing of his album Rodeo Ranger, a bluesy sound track to an imaginary, noisy western.  He was looking to make this album longer on stage and I was seduced by his experimental but also narrative compositions, an invitation to discover wide spaces and travel.

Emmanuel Mailly: Elie had worked with photos in his precedent project Triangles Irascibles and it seemed important to me that the stage version of Rodeo Ranger should prolong the cinematographic aspect of the album.  When we started writing together, we rapidly wanted to connect the music of the album to what’s happening today in Europe and the Mediterranean. We had met young refugees via the association Boussole and after a discussion with two of them, Thierno and Mamadou, we asked them if they wanted to participate in an artistic project with us.  That day we met two enthusiastic adolescents.  We were touched by their energy, their desires, their personal stories and what they had been through to arrive here.


We can feel that in the first minutes, over and above the aesthetic and sound work, Rodeo Ranger carries a commitment and a strong message; and this several weeks after an historic growth of the extreme right during the regional elections (particularly in the North where the young refugees you worked with live) and in a worrying international situation where millions of people try to cross every day. 

Emmanuel Mailly: In this creation, we chose to tackle these complex current themes with the participation of these young people, with our words, borrowing their own, with our instruments and our experimental practice.  In our artistic career we felt the need to deliver a different view on the images that the medias feed us, to present these fragments of unique journeys.

It’s not new for me to take these positions but it’s the first time that they’ve telescoped like this in my artistic work.  Through my second profession, that of teacher, I am regularly confronted with the sudden departures of students whose parents, refused asylum, have to leave the French territory or change regions to try and escape expulsion.  In 2004 I decided to create a collective in defence of illegal immigrants in Aisne and I managed it several years before passing it on to others and concentrating on the communes near to me such as Chauny where these young people live.  I accompany people in their administrative procedures, in access to housing, I try to guarantee scholastic supplies (books, calculators, bags…) or sometimes organize mobilizations in the department to save people from expulsion.

Elie Blanchard:  At the moment, more than when I started creating, as an artist, but also as a citizen, I feel the need to take up “political” issues.  For several years I have been developing a lot of collective or collaborative projects, regularly questioning the notion of “doing together”, with artists but also amateurs (adolescents, elderly mentally disabled…).  In Where do you come from? (with Cheveu), using the photographic archives of the town, I talked about the construction of Saint-Ouen by immigrant workers.  It was a view of the northern suburb of Paris where I now live.

Giving a voice to those who have none, doing things together, starting a debate, a reflection, these are things that motivate us to present this project that has been a human adventure over and above an artistic adventure.


During the performance we feel, in your exchanged looks, a constant search for a dialogue between you.  A sound dialogue when the two of you interpret the musical score that abounds with details and contrasts.  But also a more subtle exchange when it’s about measuring silence and intention with precision.  We can guess the difficulty involved in keeping a narrative form whilst only having a few photos and some instruments as sole recourse.

Emmanuel Mailly: Sometimes myapproach is called a form of slightly deferred live electro-acoustic.  Deferred because it’s always replying to the other: dancer, actors, poets or in this case visual artist, with the image, the intention, given by Elie in his visual poetry.  So a dialogue is naturally installed.

When I was a child I often went to the cinema alone.  It was the only cultural place I visited and I was fascinated by the musical scores of the films that shaped my conception of music, especially in the narrative aspect of the music I compose.

I use objects of everyday life and explore their sonorities in front of a microphone, from these experimentations I make a sort of sound palette that I use when playing live whilst also leaving room for chance, for accident.  I need to put myself in an uncomfortable situation, destabilized, in order for my music to exist.

I arrived at the residence with the music already written, the album Rodeo Ranger had been released a few months before.  I rapidly had the feeling of being a prisoner of my compositions.  We tried to rewrite some things but after a few days we swept it all away.  We just kept the essence of the album, the blues guitars, the noise and other more contemplative moments to make the musical score for the film made by Elie.


Elie Blanchard: Making a cinematographic experience with photos means accepting to tell a fragmented story. I would like the spectator to enter into these spaces to reconstitute the missing pieces with his own experience and personal history (so that there would be as many interpretations of the story as there are people in the audience).

This work of entwined writing permitted a link to be woven between us.  Each composition is a sort of response to the image, the strength of the image was guided by the sound,…We constructed the performance brick by brick by presenting many stages of work in the places where we were in residence.  It’s during these presentations that we were able to construct the breathing and the rhythm of each moment, whilst leaving ourselves freedom in the interpretation.


The young adolescents are not on stage with you although they contributed to the image by their presence.  We mainly follow two of them in their journey, how did you work with them?

Emmanuel Mailly: We met Thierno and Mamadou one afternoon in June in a Chauny park where they usually played football.  These two young Guineans told us their family history and the stages of their incredible route: millions of kilometres by jeep, by bus, on foot, the smugglers, the living conditions, the crossing of the Mediterranean, the hard times when they at last arrived in the city…With energy and confidence they conveyed to us their hopes and wishes.

Elie Blanchard: After this first meeting we started to define the stages of their crossing that we were going to put into images and prepared the film shoots to recompose the fragments of this documentary essay.  For these images we went to Brittany, in the sea, along the shore, and also to the places they frequented on their arrival in Paris, in their hotel in Chauny with the ten other young refugees who were placed there with them,…Each meeting was an opportunity to know a little more about them, to take the time to know each other, and for us, to find accuracy in what we were making.

Emmanuel Mailly: Some time ago (in January), the association La Boussole helped us organize a presentation of the performance.  They were obviously very touched and we were able to exchange about what they’d seen while presenting them our visual and sound device. They could try out the music and we took some portraits that Elie hopes he can use in the performance.  They did the development themselves with a procedure called cyanotype.

Elie Blanchard: We’ve just learnt that the department council said that they would be moved to apartments in Laon.  We won’t be able to do the last images with them that we wanted to at the hotel.  We’re happy, it’s a new step for them, closer to their school and at last in a place they can invest in, cook food, and try to reconstruct after this long journey that is, unfortunately, only just starting.

Rodeo Ranger was presented for the first time the 21st January at the Agnès Varda cinema in Beavais.  The next coming dates are on and you can find more information here.

Entretien avec Emmanuel Mailly et Elie Blanchard, auteurs de l’inclassable performance Rodeo Ranger.


Issu de la scène noise des années 90, Emmanuel Mailly est un de ces musiciens autodidactes et instinctifs qui a su prendre ses distances face à la musique en considérant que chaque objet cache une matière sonore infinie. Il sculpte inlassablement des strates vibrantes, criantes, bruyantes, frottées, caressées, frappées, un jaillissement brut qui s’agrège et s’entremêle délicieusement. Guidé par l’intuition, il partage avec Elie Blanchard cette recherche effrénée de l’instant, du geste et de l’exploration des marges.

Ce dernier, notamment dans ses performances sous le nom de Yro, explore un nouveau langage cinématographique en entretenant une relation toute particulière à la matière, aux déformations, aux processus et à une dimension narrative jonchées de traces, de rémanences et de sensations. Il fabrique dans cette performance l’intégralité du film à partir de photographies qu’il manipule.

Je les ai rencontrés en janvier 2016 alors qu’ils étaient en résidence à la Grange à Musique de Creil (après des temps de travail à l’Asca de Beauvais l’année dernière) pour finir l’écriture de leur première collaboration performative, un assemblage poignant de fragments de parcours conçu avec de jeunes réfugiés de l’Aisne. Une sorte de ciné-concert mais où le son et l’image sont créés en direct et dont l’histoire tient plus de l’essai-documentaire que de la fiction.

Quel a été le point de départ de cette création ?

Elie Blanchard : On s’est rencontré avec Emmanuel Mailly sur le festival Visionsonic que je co-programmais avec Robin Kobrynski du label V-Atak. Emmanuel y donnait une performance avec l’artiste Haythem Zakaria. Son processus de création sonore par empilement de matières fabriquées en direct raisonnait beaucoup avec ce que j’expérimentais à l’époque dans la performance Eile et dans mon dispositif de banc-titre. L’opportunité de travailler ensemble est arrivée 6 ans plus tard, alors qu’Emmanuel finissait d’écrire l’album Rodeo Ranger, bande son bluesy d’un western imaginaire et noisy. Il cherchait à prolonger cet album sur scène et j’ai été séduit par ses compositions expérimentales mais aussi très narrative, une invitation à la découverte de grands espaces et au voyage.

Emmanuel Mailly : Elie avait travaillé avec des photos dans son précédent projet Triangles Irascibles et il me semblait important que la version de Rodeo Ranger sur scène prolonge l’aspect cinématographique de l’album. En commençant à écrire ensemble, on a rapidement voulu connecter la musique de l’album à ce qui se passe aujourd’hui en Europe et en méditerranée. Nous avons rencontré des jeunes réfugiés via l’association la Boussole et après une discussion avec deux d’entre eux, Thierno et Mamadou, ont leur a demandé s’ils voulaient participer à un projet artistique avec nous. Ce jour là, on a rencontré deux adolescents enthousiastes. On a été touchés par leur énergie, leurs envies, touchés par leurs histoires personnelles, par ce qu’ils ont traversés pour venir en ici.


On le ressent dès les premières minutes, au delà du travail esthétique et sonore, Rodeo Ranger porte un engagement et un message fort ; et ce quelques semaines après par une poussée historique de l’extrême droite lors des élections régionales (particulièrement dans la région Nord où vivent les jeunes réfugiés avec qui vous avez travaillés) et par une situation internationale inquiétante qui voit des milliers de personnes tenter la traversée chaque jour.

Emmanuel Mailly : Dans cette création, on a choisi d’aborder ces thématiques complexes et d’actualité avec la complicité des jeunes, avec nos mots, en empruntant les leurs, avec nos instruments et notre pratique expérimentale. On a senti le besoin dans nos parcours d’artiste de livrer un regard différent sur les images que les médias nous abreuvent, de présenter ses fragments de parcours singuliers.

Ces prises de positions ne sont pas nouvelles pour moi mais c’est la première fois qu’elles se télescopent ainsi dans mon travail artistique. De par mon second métier, celui d’enseignant, je suis régulièrement confronté à des départs soudain d’élèves dont les parents déboutés du droit d’asile, doivent quitter le territoire français ou changent de région pour tenter d’échapper à l’expulsion. J’ai décidé en 2004 de créer un collectif de défense de sans-papiers sur l’Aisne que j’ai géré quelques années avant de passer la main et de me concentrer sur des communes proches de chez moi comme Chauny où se trouvent les jeunes. J’accompagne des personnes dans les démarches administratives, dans l’accès à un logement, j’essaye de garantir des fournitures scolaires (livres, calculatrices, sacs,…) ou parfois d’organiser des mobilisations dans le département pour sauver des personnes de l’expulsion.

Elie Blanchard : Aujourd’hui bien plus que quand j’ai commencé à faire des créations, je ressens le besoin en tant qu’artiste mais aussi en tant que citoyen de m’approprier des sujets « politique ». Depuis quelques années, je développe beaucoup de projets collectifs ou collaboratifs en questionnant régulièrement le faire ensemble, avec des artistes mais aussi avec des publics amateurs (adolescents, personnes vieillissantes en situation de handicap mental, …). Dans Where do you from come ? (avec Cheveu) j’avais parlé de la construction de la ville de Saint-Ouen par les travailleurs émigrés notamment en partant des fonds des archives photographiques de la ville. Un regard posé sur cette ville de la banlieue nord de Paris où je réside désormais.

Donner la parole à ceux qui ne l’ont pas, faire ensemble, déclencher un débat, une réflexion, sont des choses qui nous motivent pour présenter ce projet, qui au delà de l’aventure artistique a avant tout été une aventure humaine.


Pendant la performance, on ressent dans vos échanges de regard une recherche constante de dialogue entre vous. Un dialogue sonore lorsque vous interprétez tous les deux la partition musicale qui fourmille de détails et de contrastes. Mais aussi un échange plus subtil quand il s’agit de doser avec précision les silences et l’intention, dont on devine toute la difficulté pour tenir une forme narrative en n’ayant comme seul recours quelques photos et instruments.

Emmanuel Mailly : On qualifie parfois ma démarche de forme électro-acoustique live mais légèrement différée. Différée car toujours en réponse à l’autre : danseur, comédiens, poètes ou ici artiste visuel, avec l’image, l’intention, donnée par Elie dans sa poésie visuelle. Un dialogue s’instaure alors naturellement.

Enfant, j’allais seul très régulièrement au cinéma. C’était le seul lieu culturel que je fréquentais et j’étais fasciné par les bandes sons des films. Elles ont façonné ma conception de la musique, notamment dans l’aspect narratif de ce que je compose.

J’utilise des objets de la vie courante dont j’explore les sonorités face à un micro, je tire de ces expérimentations une sorte de palette sonique dont je sais tirer profit en live tout en laissant la place au hasard, à l’accident. J’ai besoin de me mettre dans l’inconfort, en équilibre instable pour que ma musique existe.

Je suis arrivé en résidence avec la musique déjà écrite, l’album Rodeo Ranger étant sorti quelques mois auparavant. J’ai eu très rapidement la sensation d’être prisonnier de mes compositions. On a essayé de ré-écrire des choses mais au bout de quelques jours, on a tout balayé d’un revers de la main. On a juste gardé l’essence de l’album, les guitares blues, des moments noise et d’autres plus contemplatifs pour fabriquer la bande son du film fabriqué par Elie.


Elie Blanchard : Fabriquer une expérience cinématographique avec des photos, c’est accepter de raconter une histoire fragmentée. C’est dans ces espaces que je souhaite que le spectateur s’immisce pour en reconstituer les morceaux manquants avec son propre vécu et son histoire personnelle (si bien qu’il y aurait autant d’interprétations de l’histoire que de personnes dans le public).

Ce travail d’écriture entremêlée a permis de tisser ce lien entre nous. Chaque composition est une sorte de réponse à l’image, la force de l’image a été guidée par le son, … Nous avons construit la performance brique par brique en présentant de nombreuses étapes de travail dans les lieux où nous étions en résidence. C’est lors de ces présentations que l’on a pu construire les respirations et le rythme de chaque moment, tout en nous laissant une liberté dans l’interprétation.


Les jeunes adolescents ne sont pas sur scène avec vous, pourtant ils ont contribué à la création de par leur présence à l’image. On suit principalement deux d’entre eux dans leur périple, comment avez-vous travaillé avec ces derniers ?

Emmanuel Mailly : On a rencontré Thierno et Mamadou une après-midi de juin dans un parc de Chauny où ils avaient l’habitude de jouer au foot. Ces deux jeunes Guinéens nous ont livré leurs histoires familiales et les étapes de leurs incroyables parcours : des milliers de kilomètres en jeep, en bus, à pied, les passeurs, les conditions de vie, la traversée de la Méditerranée, la galère une fois enfin arrivé dans une métropole… Ils nous ont transmis avec énergie et confiance leurs envies et leurs espoirs.

Elie Blanchard : Après cette première rencontre, nous avons commencé à définir les étapes de leur traversée que nous allions porter à l’image et préparé les tournages pour recomposer les fragments de cet essai documentaire. On est allé faire des images en Bretagne, dans la mer, sur le littoral, dans les lieux qu’ils ont fréquentés en arrivant à Paris, dans leur hôtel à Chauny avec les 10 autres jeunes réfugiés qui étaient placés là avec eux, … Chaque rencontre a été l’occasion d’en savoir un peu plus sur eux, de prendre le temps de se connaître et pour nous, de trouver la justesse dans ce que l’on était en train de fabriquer.

Emmanuel Mailly : Il y a quelques temps (en janvier), l’association La Boussole nous a aidé à organiser une présentation de la performance. Ils étaient visiblement très touchés et on a pu échanger sur ce qu’ils avaient vu tout en leur présentant notre dispositif sonore et visuel. Ils ont pu s’essayer à la musique et on a pris des portraits qu’Elie espère pouvoir utiliser dans la performance. Ils ont eux-mêmes fait le développement avec un procédé photographique appelé cyanotype.

Elie Blanchard : On vient d’apprendre que le conseil départemental venait de leur signifier qu’ils allaient être déplacés à Laon dans des appartements. On ne pourra pas faire les dernières images que l’on voulait faire avec eux à l’hôtel. On est content, c’est une nouvelle étape pour eux, plus proche de leur école et enfin dans un lieu qu’ils pourront investir, s’y faire à manger et tenter de se reconstruire après ce long parcours, qui ne fait malheureusement que commencer.

Rodeo Ranger a été présenté pour la première fois le 21 janvier au cinéma Agnès Varda de Beauvais. Prochaines dates à venir sur et plus d’informations sur le projet ici.

About Inside The Black Box


At the 10th anniversary of the incredible L.E.V. festival in Gijon, Spain, Yro & Sati presented Inside the Black Box, an unusual performance on the new medias stage.  At the same time narrative and experimental, we follow the cosmic journey of a black cube in space.  Erwan, Yro, how did it all start?

Erwan Raguenes (SATI): With Jesse Lucas from our duo SATI, we met Yro for the first time at the Active Layer festival in Creil in 2007 (organised by Julien Appert, also a visual artist).  We were presenting our concert A/V « React ».  At that time we felt the effervescence around what was called « Audio/Video performance », which consisted of an unbreakable link between image and sound.  Yro invited us to a residence at Pixels Transversaux, a creative laboratory for these new forms that he had created at the Generale en Manufacture in the Paris region.  For his part, he was working on audio-visual experimentations (the beginning of his rostrum-camera device), and we decided to do a first public improvisation at the end of the week in residence.  It could be considered the start of Inside the Black Box, we played the music, and he created the video from the manipulation of objects live in front of a camera.

Yro: Around the Pixels Transversaux I created the Visionsonic Festival.  The programming was dedicated to hybrid forms, improvised or experimental, with modern writing, narrative or abstract.  Pixels Transversaux was the workspace, Visionsonic was the meeting space between the public and this emerging scene of artists: Incite/ (Germany), Transforma (Germany), Otolab (Italy), Sculpture (England), Gangpol and Mit (France), Synchronator (Holland), RKO (France) to name but a few… In 2010, with SATI, we created the collective Avoka in order to crystalize all these energies around some artists, and to produce and diffuse our creations.  Inside the Black Box is the first creation of the collective.



All through Inside the Black Box we can feel this proliferation of ideas and experimentation.  The performance is a mix of animated films in 3D, the manipulation of objects in front of the cameras and the interpretation of a dark electronic music perfectly connected to the black and white images.  We marvel at the flight of a bird animated live on stage or before a luminous sculpture reacting to the music, creating a sort of space-time door.

Yro: The project was derived from research into new cinematic writing by diverting the codes and tools of traditional cinema whilst incorporating interactive and improvised devices.  The sequences in 3D sit along side the moiré, a « gravity box » (a camera, fixed in relation to a box containing balls, films a scene that appears to be filmed in weightlessness), or also a film stop motion created on stage with the help of 8 breakdowns of movement, creating the flight of a bird.  We make the magic and poetry with bits of paper, some balls, some milk and light.

Erwan Raguenes (SATI): After the first version in 2008, we wanted to link the devices of audio-visual interaction and the objects created by Yro.  The real objects filmed on stage influenced the style used later in the 3D creation made by Jesse Lucas (the second half of the duo SATI).  It’s all about the true to and fro between the analogical and the digital, as much on stage as in the creative work done beforehand.  The music was also created with a mix of vintage analogical synthesizers and more modern machines.  Inside the black box is a tribute to the beginnings of cinema and electronic music.



From the first moments of the show, we are transported into the odyssey of the « black box » that cleaves the stars before landing on a white planet.  We do a lot of back and forth between the screen and you on stage, to try and unlock the mysteries of the creation of images and the musical score. 

Unlike many new media projects, we feel your wish to tell us a story and to be accessible to a wide public.  Why did you want to connect all these pictures that could have been simple abstract experimentations?

Erwan Raguenes (SATI): At that time, with SATI, Jesse and I were writing our first show for a young audience, The Odyssey of Rick the Cube.  Yro was experimenting with the manipulation of objects and the three of us wrote this journey of a black cube.  We wanted the public to follow a path whilst entering into a story abstract enough for us have the space for experimentation and improvisation.  Originally the three of us were on stage but for scheduling reasons Jesse is no longer on stage with us.

 Yro: The creation of ITBB is a story all on it’s own.  The project had at least 4 totally different versions.  This project was like a laboratory for us (work on lighting and scenography research, musical forms).  Between today’s version and the first presented in 2008, or the one presented at Scopitone 7 years ago, there’s nothing left.  It’s a project of our youth with its share of attempts. We learnt a lot with this project and we still have the pleasure of being invited to present it today.


You exchange looks during the whole performance.  Erwan, whilst interpreting the music, watches the screen and reacts musically to what’s happening.  Yro, in his manipulations seems to respond to the music.

 Erwan Raguenes (SATI): The connexion between us is primordial.  The show is very written; the scenes have a precise order.  But in this writing, there are spaces of visual and sound improvisations.  Yro manipulates a large number of objects and I interpret most of the music on synthesizers and machines.

Yro:  It’s in these spaces of freedom that we find the pleasure of being on stage.  It’s this fragility, this imperfection that allows us to embark the public on this black and white, oscillating, vintage adventure.



Inside the black box was created nearly 7 years ago, have you done any other projects together since?

 Yro:  With Erwan, we worked together on another project, Triangles Irascibles that developed this research on new cinematic writing.  By manipulating photographs (family archives and original photos), I tackle my relationship to family and death.  Erwan composed the sound track of this experience.  Erwan and Jesse have since done the second part of the adventures of Rick: Rick the cube and the Mystery of Weather whilst still playing their duo SATI.

Erwan Raguenes (SATI): The three of us have also collaborated on interactive installations that mix analogical and digital technologies such as the Dyskograf, a graphic disk reader that has been presented at a large number of festivals!

More :

Translation of the article that appeared in the Spanish magazine TENMAG :

Interview with Yro: Triangles Irascibles, Rodeo Ranger, Where do you come from: the start of a new cinematic experience

Elie Blanchard, also known as Yro, was invited last month to the International Intangible Heritage Film Festival in Jeonju (South Korea) to present his performance Triangles Irascibles, as well as an original creation for the opening of the festival.  This is a good opportunity to come back to his artistic approach, which fits into this –not so new- wave of « new media » projects.  Yro has accompanied this movement for more than 10 years, creating; in particular, several founding works like Eile, an experimental cinematic performance or the Synthome cycle with Transforma…

In his latest experimental performances, he works with the photographic medium and a shoot apparatus inspired by the animation rostrum to create an experience close to cinema.


Yro manipulate a photo in front of his camera.

Yro, tell us how you integrated this new material into your visual art?

YRO: Through the back door, by chance, as often happens in my work.  I was in residence in Brazil at the Aberto Workshop, invited to propose a carte blanche.  After several weeks spent exploring dozens of possibilities, filling up pages of ideas, wishes, infinite geometric forms…I was totally lost and rather lonely.  I don’t really know why I asked my parents to send me some photos of the family that were in an old box. I knew my mother would play along; she likes that kind of mission.  The result was way more than my hopes.  When I started manipulating these photos, « interpreting » them, a new form appeared that was obvious.  I had at last distanced my artistic approach from the mirages of abstraction.

These first experiences were the origins of Triangles Irascibles, a performance where I mix family archives with photos that I took in the Paris suburbs.  The story it tells isn’t my own but it could have been.


Triangles Irascibles - Performance of Triangles Irascibles in Grece at ADAF Festival

So, some of these images aren’t yours?

YRO: I didn’t make them, but taking the time to look at them and putting them into relation for the performance is a creative work as much as making them.  They become my work even though they continue to exist as family archives.

In my work, I’ve always used objects I’ve found, diverted.  I spend a lot of time looking for the hidden meaning of a volume, a material, what it carries, by maintaining an emotional relationship with it.  I touch the objects, manipulate them, see them grow old and change with time.


Materials used in the performance Eile.

With the use of photographs, my first impressions were of fear, fear of losing the evocative power of the object, of its abstraction.  In fact, the different experiences of the spectators that I received are very interesting.  The performing form creates a balance between suggestion and free interpretation of the fixed image to make a narrative and introspective experience.

The test of time, the interpretation and reinterpretation of a work makes your creative process fragile and in perpetual movement.  Since 2008, Elie has been presented in twenty countries, Triangles Irascibles has been translated into 9 languages, the trilogy withe the Germans of Transformer covers 10 years of work, yet some of these works like  Haeneyo and Where do you from come? , commissioned by institutions have had shorter lives…

YRO : Where do you come from ? with the rock group Cheveu for the Cité nationale de l’immigration à Paris.  Haeneyo was made for the opening of the heritage museum festival in Jeonju. The principle reflections of these two institutions are about archives and the presentation of cultural and historical heritage.  The difficulty wasn’t so much about what material I was going to have to use but more about my position in relation to it and the dialogue that I could construct.


In Where do you come from ?, Yro was the operator of an imaginary photographic laboratory

In this work, created for the national Cité of immigration history, apart from the incredible length of time spent classifying, notating and numbering the hundreds of photos, one of my responses was the staging of an imaginary photographic laboratory.  My role in the performance was that of an operator of machines and chemicals used in the silver image development process, the person who reveals the images.  I used the archive photos of St Ouen, which date from the 1930’s to 1950, documents rarely shown to the public.  These archives document the form of this town, its industrial past and the daily life of the migrant population of that time.  This performance was presented to 1500 people gathered together for an evening at the Fete de la Musique in the decorative arts building built in 1931 for the international colonial exhibition at the Paris Porte Dorée.  The work in situ, the symbolic weight  of this place, along with the creation, makes inseparable links.


In the same way, it seems improbable to me to present Haeneyo anywhere else but South Korea.  This creation shows women of the sea, women divers from the island of Jeju-do.  I was lucky enough to have access to an incredible collection of images showing these women fishing, trying to get warm round a fire, in intimate moments or their daily life, impressive in their costume and their equipment, faces covered with their mask, often very old, their skin wrinkled from staying too long under water. Who else better than the Korean public to understand the emotion I felt when I discovered these images and that I tried to convey, in my own way.


One of the numerous archives from the National Intangible Heritage Centre entrusted to Yro for the realisation of an original work.

For the past year you’ve been collaborating with the experimental musician Emmanuel Mailly for the creation of a new performance : Rodeo Ranger.  You’ve just presented a stage of this work at the Agnès Varda cinema in Beauvais.  In this creation you involve young refugees from Guinea and Eritrea, actually accommodated in Aisne, in the writing process and in the production of the material.  In the past you have collaborated several times with different populations ( adolescents  in the series of videos Black & White, adults with disabilities in l’œil acidulé, …).  Are you looking to establish this relationship ?

YRO : Ranger is very different.  With Emmanuel, we were looking to get these young people on board when we were writing the project.  No structure asked us to do it, there is no institutionalized socio-cultural project that justifies obtaining grants behind this.  We had total freedom, a necessary freedom to find accuracy and not betray the confidence these young people had in us.


Presentation of Rodeo Ranger in Beauvais a few days ago.

The creation exists through our mutual energy and our wish to take the time & gage the rhythm of this coming together.  These days, it’s important that everyone commits to making space, to creating links and to doing things together, because it’s surely not by turning inwards on ourselves or by restraining individual liberties that we will live in a fairer world.

Rodeo  Ranger will be presented the 21 January in Beauvais after a series of residences at the Grange à Musique in Creil.

Une minute pour découvrir ljós, une des dernières créations de Barthélémy du collectif iduun >> installation immersive et envoutante créée en Chine en mai dernier dans le cadre du festival Croisements

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