Conférence sur rien

un film de Jean-Jacques Palix et Eve Couturier
à partir de la conférence " Lecture  on nothing " de John Cage
traduction et lecture par Eve Couturier
images de Jean-Jacques Palix et Marc Petitjean
son de Jean-Jacques Palix et Eve Couturier
avec les ciels de Paris, San Diego, Nantes, Marville et L'Isle sur la Sorgue
remerciements à Dean Inkster et Christophe Wavelet
durée : 52 minutes
Paris - Septembre 2002

John Cage's Lecture on Nothing, which was first given as a lecture by Cage himself at the Artist's Club in New York in 1959, is a major event in the history of twentieth century art. In the lecture, Cage gives a particularly lucid account of the contemporary status of art, not in the form of a manifesto as such, but rather in the form of a significant reflection on our historical relation to meaning , thus testifying to Cage's continued relevance as an important figure in the arts today.

The text first appeared in august 1959 in the collection Incontri Musicale and was later republished in Silence in 1961. Written as a musical score, the conference is structured in five major parts, each containing 7, 6, 14, 14 and 7 units respectively. Each unit is again subdivided into twelve lines each containing four measures. Following the indications given by Cage himself, the text should be read rhythmically, yet avoiding theatrical effect , using the rubato of normal conversation: "This lecture on Nothing was written in the same rhythmic structure I employed at the time in my musical compositions - Sonatas and Interludes, Three Dances, etc..."

A recorded version of the text was made in 1991 by the cellist Frances Marie Uitti for the double CD, ETCETERA, accompanying Cage's works for cello.

In 2001, encouraged by two art historian friends (Dean Inkster and Christophe Wavelet) Eve Couturier worked on a French translation of the text entitled " Conférence sur rien ". She recorded a reading of her translation in spring 2002. Concurrently, Jean-Jacques Palix was inspired to produce a film to accompany the reading. The film was completed in summer 2002.
The film's rhythm is slow and is made up of a sequence of shots that succeed each other in long dissolves or cuts, each beginning and ending with a white monochromatic screen. The images remain minimal, leaving the viewer to discover the play of shadow and light of a white wall, a sky animated by clouds, or trees moving in the wind. These long shots of "visual silence" are intended to convey the text and its meaning.
The soundtrack that accompanies the reading consists of urban noises in which no individual sound is identifiable as such. In keeping with Cage's philosophy, this soundscape has been edited and mixed to accompany the film in its entirety, including the silences of the lecture itself.

Jean-Jacques Palix is a composer for stage, discoverer, compiler, archivist, lover of rare musics, sounds hunter... After his radical productions and realisations in "Radio Nova" in the early 80's, he created in 85 Tapage Atypique (Atypical Noise). This indenpendent studio round up activities for original compositions, musical programs, soundscapes creations and their diffusion in the space for a diversity of contexts.
His choices had within it the seed of sounds which generate emotions, rich associations of images, well done effects according the artistic context he is collaborating with: contemporary dance  (notamment avec Daniel Larrieu, Odile Duboc, Brigitte Farges, Pascale Houbin, Paco Decina...), art (Olivier Agid, Rafaël Gray...),  film (Jacques Renard, Marc Petitjean, Variety Moszynski...), vidéo (Jean-Louis Le Tacon), events shows, and fashion (Junko Shimada, Lanvin...).
Working with jazz musicians, rock musicians, and, contemporary composers, has enabled him to enlarge his personal sound researches as well as his abilities as a composer, arranger, and producer.
In 1992 he created Song Active Production, an independent record label, free of classification.
Besides his mumerous compositions for film and dance companies, he recorded several records with the english multi-instrumentist David Coulter, with Eve Couturier for Un bruit qui court, with Jeff Rian for experimental guitar compositions in the famous Cd Everglade
A new opus will be released in march 2003  with the National french radio  label Signature.
In 1999, he is invited in the Nimes Art School to produce a vocal concert called Voco, and in 2000 for the Compass opera. He regularly collaborates for interventions in Art Schools in France (Valence, Brest, Le Mans..). In 2007, for the InSitu/Fabienne Leclerc 's galery in Paris, he created the piece called 16'33" which is a tribute for 33 contemorary composers.

Eve Couturier start on French National Radio France Inter in the 80's. Besides the interrest of the live, she privilege the recording, the reports, the editing, the mixing and what we call the "Magnetic Writing".
In 1983, she join the Radio Nova's team, which was one of the most creative and experimental free radio of all the FM. She produce thematics shows as Le Mur , 1st price of the FM Festival in 1984. She collaborate with France Culture for differents  thematics and reports with Alain Veinstein for Le goût du jour and with Laure Adler for Les nuits magnétiques.
She meet artists and writers and widen her sounds  practices.
She compose and realise soundscores for Theatre.
For 1985, she collaborates with Tapage Atypique and Song Active Production label for a lot of dance shows with Daniel Larrieu and Brigitte Farges.
She performe as DJ and reader in CP/AD , a Yvonne Rainer piece revival with the Quatuor Knust in France and Canada.
Un bruit qui court is a CD of her own texts, with music composed by Jean Jacques Palix. The CD represents her frequent spoken-word performances which she has done regularly in Art galleries for 1998.


10' soundtrack's extract MP3

fly-tox/Eve Couturier


Palix site

complete biography