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by Isabelle Carlier
The annual program of Bandits-Mages will address contemporary and historical themes, while providing the context for various current methods of displaying images (and hearing sounds): there will be film projections, film analysis, multimedia installations and video sets as well as visual and sound performances.
To broaden our horizons, the focal point of the program will be the eight-day Rencontres Bandits-Mages.
The Rencontres are an invitation to artists, students and visitors from all over the place, as well as the local people of the Berry to enter worlds both familiar or foreign.
The junction between the artistic issues and policies shared by the guest artists and film-makers creates an opportunity to explore all aspects of the various aesthetic values but also of common sense. The will is to find links between the components of a complex universe.
Boris Lehman, the autobiographical film-maker who never lives or films anything without including others, has sponsored the Rencontres Bandits-Mages since 2013. On several occasions in Bourges, his path almost crossed that of the writer and video-maker, expounder and unraveller of pop culture Pacôme Thiellement. Why would this be? They have at least one thing in common. They are both utterly committed to an artistic life of which Bandits-Mages is the vector. Boris Lehman finds in Bourges possibilities for shooting and editing, and he doesn’t miss an occasion to screen his films in movie theatres, concert halls and in private homes. Pacôme Thiellement is like a family member who after a long journey has come back home at last to tell us secret stories we never knew about yet which form a large part of our culture.
He leads us into a program based on the notion of anti-alchemy – or the way in which one can fashion leaden men out of golden beings.
We asked Pacôme for a narrative, a radio serial delving into and decoding a potentially fictional and fantasy place in the city of Bourges: the Hotel Lallemant. This serial that will be broadcasted during the Rencontres, has been designed with students from Radio Radio at Bourges’ École nationale supérieure d’art, who enjoyed the help of two exceptional voices: François Angelier (the creator and presenter of the programme Mauvais Genres on France Culture) and Hermine Karagheuz (the actress who has worked for Roger Blin, Patrice Chéreau, Laurent Terzieff, and in film with Jacques Rivette).
Also ahead of the event, Pacôme Thiellement and Thomas Bertay, co-directors of the series “Le Dispositif”, have been taking part in the VJing master class Digitale Pourpre, a workshop where bodies and images are unwrapped and deconstructed, conducted by Laurent Carlier (a VJ artist and coordinator of the Vision’R VJ Festival). The performance artist Nadège Piton lead the participants into an exploration of their bodies and attitudes. The restitution of this work will take place in the first part of the final evening of the Rencontres. The second part is entrusted to Pacôme. He has chosen to summon onstage Antonin Artaud and other ghosts through the medium of the very much alive Eyving Kang, Marie Möör and Scott Batty. The third and final part will slide into transgression with the company of the collective Let’s Dyke!.
Throughout these propositions, we can explore these underground and hidden worlds, which far from highlighting the virtues of the human being, show up its disorders and monstrosities, how resistant it is to horror and the absurd and how clever at inventing new strategies for living and creative spaces beyond the norm.
This is a thematic thread of the Rencontres open to a double focus on:
The Kapelica gallery in Slovenia, invited by Ewen Chardronnet and Quimera Rosa, a body, technology and identity experimentation “lab” invited by the association Emmetrop. What brings them all together is rooted in their questions about the body, the human and the non-human, the animal and the cyborg: Bare Life! It’s Time!
Besides fantasy underground tunnels becoming radio and VJ performances, we’ll also be exploring sound art and sci-fi. Enters at this point Gail Priest, an Australian artist in dual residence at the BOX and Bandits-Mages for three months (through the EMAN#EMARE, the European Media Art Network’s programme for the exchange of residence). She has offered to share her current work with us via several events, conference-discussions and concerts. She will also give us some insight into the Australian arts scene with the premiere airing of a programme called Listening Visions.
The creation of spaces for research and collective creation is particularly evident in the newborn Hall Noir, a prototype space for students’ programming, piloted by David Legrand. This year Marie Gaudou, Ophélie Soulier and Violaine Higelin experiment here with programming and workshop procedures, and of particular relevance to current questions, they can choose ways of displaying bodies and images-états, with freaks and queers front of stage.
This collective dimension has been the subject of previous Rencontres, when we watched the shooting of Arnaud and Bertrand Dezoteux’s Cloud Berry, a multi-temporal and multiple spatial film, both real and virtual. The film is now approaching its definitive form. It is ready to meet up with its spectators and actors again.
So what happens if each of the actors present meets Claus Löser, the author, film-maker, curator and co-founder of ex.oriente.lux, an archive dedicated to underground and experimental films from Eastern Germany, or what if they discover the independent cinema offered by Peter Hoffmann de Kino im Sprengel in Hanover, and Giuseppe Spina de Nomadica in Italy? After all, we have an underground cinema to defend. Let’s not forget that Boris Lehman is our sponsor. By the way, you may well run into him here with some films in his pockets.
Handing on the defence of this film making is also a key part of our daily work at the Zaap, the association’s space for artistic and educational activities. At this year’s session, the two filmmaker-editors Fabrice Aragno and Bernard Sasia. It’s a fair bet that the meeting of these two personalities and the young film-making apprentices will be memorable.