3 questions // Flora Détraz
1 The main musical, literary and pictorial sources of your work are from the Medieval era. Why did you choose this era? What peculiar tension or charm does this epoch have for you?
The end of Medieval era is a decadent period characterized by wars, famine, diseases, poverty that I can relate to ours. Meanwhile, literature, paintings and music were prolific and joyful fields of experimentation. When I discovered medieval/renaissance polyphony (Clement Janequin, Claudin de Sermisy, Clemens non Papa, Juan del Encina, among others), and these absurd and grotesque lyrics, mostly focusing on bodily details, excrement, sex, food and marriage, I was totally charmed and attracted towards its freedom.
In this contradiction, I found the basis for the piece: talking about bodily conditions, and more specifically female bodily conditions, with a suspicious excess of joy.
2 How would you describe your way of working during a residency?
For this piece, as we faced a big musical challenge, we split the day between musical sessions which were very methodical and technical: score and piano, working on small parts, and adding more parts day to day.
Then we worked on improvisations around images that inspired us, putting together voice and movement, always trying to escape from literal meaning.
Because I am also part of the piece as a performer, we used the mirror in the studio to give us direct feedback on what we were doing. I watched a lot videos from the rehearsals in order to be able to re-direct the work day by day.
3 Is there a contemporary piece of music or music video you would like to recommend to us?
Meredith Monk, Book of day
Meredith Monk, Walking Song
Cathy Berberian, Stripsody
Kurt Schwitters, Ursonate
Inside view // Studio 2, PACT Zollverein
In continuation of her previous works, peuplements (2013), Gesächt (2014) and TUTUGURI (2017), during her residence at PACT Flora Détraz keeps on exploring the possibilities of voice. The three performers she chooses to collaborate with for her new piece, are dancers and musicians. Together they approach dance with a musical perspective.
Having the middle age era as the main musical, literature and pictural source to feed their research, Flora Détraz explores the appropriation and distortion of this material, taking it to the limit of the malicious, the grotesque, and the tragic by singing copiously, laughing polyphonicly, dancing blindnessly and chatting in cacophony.
Muyte Maker premiered on 31. May at Festival Alkantara, Lisbon, PT.