Multi-media artist

Loris Gréaud on John Cage

Interview by Lara Sedbon
Photograph by Fahd el Jaoudi

I remember I once had this idea of setting up an “unlearning workshop”: it requires a lot of work to unlearn, but this an important step to go through. I’ve learned through John Cage that you can also work by subtraction and even more by creating an existing gap and a certain idea of “un-played notes” (the title of the upcoming show at Pace gallery and Yvon Lambert). Some ideas, like the concept of un-played notes, will last forever and have become a pattern in most of my productions. It is especially true if you consider that you also need to listen to the un-played notes in a score, in an aria, in a book, between 2 animated film photograms and so on…

It is this question of the constant paradigm related to the importance of the unsaid, the silence that could make the whole world enter. We are no longer talking about void but rather more about full void, mute screamer and loud silence.

Then, in a more conceptual way, after studying John Cage I had this full awareness of giving access to chains and meanings: chains of thoughts, displacement between two works, between two moments as probably even more important times, and meaning.

Lee Ranaldo performing at IRCAM, Paris

A project that somehow plays and deals with the same kind of questions is my collaboration with Lee Ranaldo. I’ve asked Lee to travel to Paris for a recording session in the famous anechoic chamber of IRCAM, immortalized by John Cage. There, we recorded the soundtrack for the movie: One thousand ways to enter (shown at Pace Gallery in the up-coming show The Unplayed Notes).

In the anechoic chamber Lee had no guitar. We had some discussions on the premises about the book Silence by John Cage triggering the questions we needed to solve at that time. I asked him to deeply think of the most beautiful guitar solo he could ever imagine. We recorded him thinking during two sessions of 30 minutes each with extremely accurate microphones. The result was a full silence of mental crazy guitar riffs. This has become the soundtrack of the 35mm film and installation.