Watching Metamkine brings us to a space between what is live and what is recorded, confronting us with an altogether different and unfamiliar zone. Performing in front of us, between the audience and the screen onto which they project their machines, the three artists are active and present, their constant motion part of our understanding of a moving, breathing performance. And yet, the final product of their performance does not stop at their own bodies—for the final product of the artists’ effort is, at last, the screening of film.
Film and sound artists Christophe Auger, Jérôme Noetinger, and Xavier Quérel have worked together since 1987, honing this ecstatic and ever-shifting performance of light, film, shadow, sound and tape fragments that layer and permutate into unknown cinematic realms. Working with an arsenal of created and found film fragments, modified projectors, light traps, sound mixers and synthesizer, the group explores the relationship between image and sound, drifting through patches of story and abstraction as they masterfully choreograph devices seemingly gone beyond control. The goal is to concurrently create a single piece, never privileging sound over image or vice versa. Through the magic of mirrors, multiple projectors and highly ingenious on-stage editing, Metamkine produces new films, worlds and sensations with each of their performances.
What we observe is the unique unfolding of a collaborative process, the joining and shifting of different voices to create a special kind of cinematic experience, immediate and tactile. Such intuitive manipulation of both sound and image excites the materials, bringing them to a presence and life beyond their pre-recorded sources. A special concern for the handmade—a sensitivity to the artist’s immediate touch—is palpable: much of the film material is shot and hand-processed, its irregularities often coming out on screen.
The 2016 edition of SIFF will open with a performance by Metamkine in the Apollon Theater. Having born witness to the evolution of the arts throughout Hermoupolis’ modern history, the theater will host the start of this year’s festival with a display of relentless exploration, at the intersection of cinema and performance, of recording and improvisation, and of seeing and knowing. Let’s open ourselves to seeing differently.