Director Cyril Teste founded MxM, a group that specialises in theatrical and digital expression, in 2000. His work has been seen, notably at the Festival d’Avignon, the Festival Européen Temps d’Images-Arte at La Ferme du Buisson and at CENQUATRE-Paris, and at Festival CINEMED in Montpellier. Since 2011, Cyril Teste and MxM have been working on the concept of the film-performance. To date, Teste has produced four such pieces: Patio–2011, Park–2012, Punk Rock in 2015 and Nobody, a site-specific film performance 2013 recreated for the stage–2015 (coproduced with Le Fresnoy).
Film performance, a form of theatrical writing which draws on a real-time, visible cinematic apparatus, produced in a real-life setting or on stage, injects the present of the theatre into the time of cinema, thereby a creating a single, ephemeral and unique image. This is a new artistic and technical challenge, a new form of theatrical and cinematic writing that the members of MxM were able to develop over the last season with their partners and Le Fresnoy around Nobody. The aim was to film, edit, grade and show the wireless images in real time, in HD, with minimum latency (in collaboration with Glen Silver/Technology Playgroup for the electronic and micro-controller part, and with Frederick Rodrigues for transmission at the mixing desk). The performance will be presented at the Théâtre du Nord in November 2015.
The contemporary tools that are used, such as video, the augmented spaces and the interactive apparatuses all play a part in this attempt to write a new language or, more exactly, a living language. In the same line of ideas, this year Cyril Teste is planning to develop EDEN, an immersive 3D digital installation project, a kind of digital nursery where viewers can observe the birth and growth of a virtual plant specimen. In recent years he has been reflecting on these questions with IRCAM and INRIART in collaboration with Arshia Cont. The invitation from Le Fresnoy will provide an opportunity to implement this project.
But the opportunity to come back to Le Fresnoy would also be a chance to collaborate with the designer Ramy Fischler, who is also a visiting professor. Last year, indeed, was rich in encounters, with students and with other visiting professors. Since then, Cyril Teste and Ramy Fischler have begun working together on installation/lighting projects.
The question of teaching is also at the heart of Teste’s concerns (since 2009, he and MxM have been developing the Laboratoire Nomade d’Arts Scéniques, a network for trans-disciplinary instruction linking a production structure and higher education students in dramatic arts, the image and technology). A vital part of his work as a stage director, transmission is one of the key drivers of his processes of research and creation. How can one keep reinventing the desire to learn and exchange? For him, the school is the precious place of beginning, where emergence creates its own tools, takes the time to write a sensibility that will be singularly its own and gradually learns the experience of its own path in a creative process. If Cyril Teste is particularly attracted to these questions, that is because they allow for the emergence of artistic individualities within a process of collective appropriation. He conceives of this relation as Giuseppe Penone envisaged the process of creating his sculptures: Footstep over footstep produces the path. The path follows the man, it is the duration between man’s passing and the moment when the effect of his passage disappears. The path is recollection, a memory (...). A good path is the one that loses itself in the scrub, that shuts off with its shrubs behind the walker’s back, without telling us if he was the first to break or the last of its wayfarers. The disappeared path is the one to take, the aim being to lose the path so as find it and take it again.
We must, as he sees it, keep on inventing apparatuses that allow an exchange between transmission, research and creation, with a real concern for transversality. In light of which, the collaboration initiated with Le Fresnoy in 2014 appears as particularly meaningful.
Cyril Teste & Eric Prigent.