Alibi des voltigeurs
“Stuck in a time when hope is the ultimate passage of loss.”
— Étienne Lalonde [English translation: François Couture]
This electronic poem is in four parts: Le cadran déchu (The Deposed Dial); L’obsession (The Obsession); La va-et-vient (To and Fro); L’horloge ambulante (The Walking Clock).
I have an uneasy relationship with time… Present, past, and future times.
”Temporality is the notion of perception or of a state of time. This notion varies from field to field.” “Temporality is time experienced by conscience…”
[Adapted from the French versions of Wikipédia and Encyclopædia Universalis.]
What time is it? What colours are being offered to my eyes to immerse myself in the atmosphere of a location, where the ambient air can soak in joy and despair? And what about the minutes that suddenly escape, never to come back? One must move smoothly forward. Impossible! To swim all the way to the other shore, despite the obstacles and tiredness. To stop is synonymous with certain death, unless you have an alibi to gasp for air and improve your breathing. The alibi is the ultimate excuse when you’re late. Acrobats are great inner travelers who find for themselves a place shaded from age and bad weather.
This work is marked by cyclical and tormented movements. On stage, a female narrator dialogues with fixed sounds that are projected all around her. A looper memorizes snippets of her performance and repeats these snippets, superimposing them into a nursery rhyme.
A temporal rhythm of quarter notes at 60 is inevitable! Buying time is just a metaphor. The time line is a fault in the cartesian mind of the character, and her vision blurs up. I am looking at her through the crosshairs while driving on a deserted road. The tempo hurries up, this is just an illusion. The meter’s running and the needle reaches 131 km/h in a 70 km/h zone. The fuel gauge has bottomed out. Death may be waiting for me, but the beat keeps on beating in another vein of life, and seconds fly by like shooting stars. Now, advanced calculus is required to reach our destination unnoticed. All the watches of the world are set and synchronized to avoid devastating consequences. Messed-up schedules breed terror and failures. A herd of little children hurried by the bell are moving silently in line. I am exhausted and suffocating in this human jungle of insurmountable minutes. I won’t be taking the dog out tonight, because deep in the forest the coyotes, with their striking chorus of voices, are racing ahead of time all the way till sunrise. No rest for the tiny mechanism of the clock you keep staring at for a whole challengeful day. A tidal wave is coming… And once more I’m late! To find an alibi to make people forget about the disappearing acrobats.
[English translation: François Couture, iv-14]
Alibi des voltigeurs [The Acrobats’ Alibi] was realized in 2012-14 at the composer’s studio (Productions RTM) in Montréal. Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and, for their precious help, Laur Fugère, voice; and Manuel Teigeiro, Jew’s harp sounds.