Deux trois choses ou presque. BRUNO DUPLANT based on a score by Manfred Werder
(Engraved Glass 2012) 

The installation of a sculpture into an area of countryside, or even sometimes into an established urban environment, can bring forth complaints. People object to the change of scenery. Letters are written to newspapers. Their sense of familiarity has been compromised.
A place they felt they once knew intimately has suddenly been transformed. An artist has had the audacity to position his work, a product of his singular imagination, in a place of prominence in the landscape.

As time passes the sculpture becomes assimilated into its surroundings. Children climb on it, people sit on its plinth to chat and it is used as a point of reference when giving directions to strangers.

In a small way this conversion happens when listening to Bruno Duplant’s deux trois choses ou presque, based on scores by Manfred Werder. Knowing from the text that Duplant is going to use sine tones, double bass and horn during these field recordings, there is a tendency to wait for their intrusion.

Listening attentively to a recording of what sounds like a semi- rural milleu of birdsong and a little human activity, I was ready for the instrumantal interventions. When they came they were slow, extended tones that seemed to rise over the everyday canvas of underlying sounds, disembodied and subtle but nevertheless at odds with their surroundings .

But as the tracks went on, a confluence occurred. Rather than existing alongside each other, the two seperate strands of the work seemed to coalesce. The distance and division between them seemed to lessen. By the end of its 40 or so minutes duration, the symbiosis was complete. The duality disappeared and in its place was a new entity.

For me (and this is purely a personal view, most probably not intended by the work’s authors at all), I envisaged an electromagnetic field of some sort emanating from the ground. It was as if Duplant, as well as recording  the sounds of the environment, had also managed to record a field of energy vibrating beyond human audition.

Dedicating deux trois choses ou presque to the poet Francis Ponge is telling. Ponge’s poetry was based on minute attention to the detail of everyday objects. Free of emotion and symbolism, Ponge sought to express the world as it was. Pure concentration on simple objects. The cigarette. The potato. A bar of soap.

These three tracks demand similar attention too. Every listen creates in the mind different points of convergence and fusion between the elements of the piece. It is an object that can be turned around and looked at from many angles. Of course, each person has their own individual way of approaching  any work of art, and each approach brings new rewards.

“Another way of approaching the thing is to consider it unnamed, unnameable.” – Francis Ponge.

-Chris Whitehead

Bruno Duplant website
Engraved Glass website 

Chris Whitehead

Sound artist.