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Presentation

« The Gorgons are intrusive in the sense close to that of Stengers’ interpretation of Gaia. Any man who looked on their living, poisonous faces, incrusted with serpents, was turned to stone. I wonder what might have happened if these men had known how to greet these dreadful underworld spirits politely. I wonder if such manners can still be learned, if there’s enough time left for learning these days, or whether the geological layers in the rocks will only record the ends and the end of a petrified Anthropos. »
« Staying with the trouble : Sympoièse, figures de ficelle, embrouilles multispécifiques ».
Donna J. Haraway.
EDITO
Every year, the Rencontres Bandits-Mages comes to life through the esthetic and political perspectives of artists. This year, the artists are working on concepts and projects such as TransPlant: Green is the new red, a fusion of chlorophyl and blood, and Espècement, an experiment in regeneration and hybrids. Sorcery, ecofeminism, eco-sexuality, deviant technology, mutations, non-patriarchal mythology and little-known historical facts have fermented into a compost in which their jubilant inspiration and fabricated identities find their roots. From here, new narrative experiences have sprung up, leading to unexplored fields of enquiry, where one can linger in a moving multi-universe where the weather is uncertain and the perspective is queer (strange and multifaceted).

Chthulu, a monstrous tentacled underworld god borrowed from Donna Haraway1, has the gift of linking species, minorities and fringe elements of our normal worlds. Without grading or classification in the eyes of the sovereign authorities, the voice of this subterranean character accepts complexity, abhorring any simplification for the sake of ease. To hear this voice is to enter a variety of cultures, to abandon the stance of the dominatrix, and to become a partner in all things marvellous yet stupefying, alluring yet terrifying, reassuring yet dangerous.

This means a departure from the normal view and a joining of wills on a human scale, in an economy built on ingenuity and pragmatism. It means creating dedicated spaces and trying out other possibilities. This is why the festival organisers have made it a priority to appear and take up residence in a variety of places in the city of Bourges and to convene practitioners to offer workshops to students, creators or indeed anyone wishing to explore.

From these laboratories (and these “forges”) open sessions will emerge : conferences, projections and gatherings, multiple ways of fostering research, exchanging energies and knowledge. Concretely, the festival will include the programme TransPlantation with Quimera Rosa’s guests, the performing duo Proyecto Immiscuir (DaniD’Emilia and Daniel B. Chavez); the carte blanche It’s Time, in honour of Donna Haraway, with, in particular, a workshop on performance reading of the Manifeste Chthulucène led by Helen Torres in association with Nadège Piton; a trip through multiple worlds in Espècement by Hall Noir with this year’s guests, the collective Les Yeux de l’Ouïe; role reversals with John Sanborn’s Encryption, the opportunity for a retrospective of this pioneering artist imagined by Stephen Sarrazin. Alexis Degrenier’s Différence(s) et répétition(s) explores sound oscillating between the traditional and contemporary; lectures and conferences by contemporary sorcerers and cinematic offerings as strange in their form as in their story lines, including those of our future European artist-in-residence Graeme Cole.

1 – D.H. has invented this suitcase-name evoking both the divinity emanating from H.W. Lovecraft’s short stories and the Greek root khthon, the Earth, hence the difference in spelling from that of the author of Providence.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS AND PROGRAMMING
The Rencontres is above all a time for collective creation: a grand reunion where students, teachers and the public, whether novice or initiated, can meet up with the explorers and researchers we conventionally call “artists”. The terminology needed changing to take into account the evolution of traditional means of communication, based on themes of domination and exploitation, towards a transmission emanating in equal measure from experimental universities and the ancient mystery cults. Over fifteen days, Bandits-Mages will be taking a reality check on the prototype of an imaginary structure where the tools for production and distribution are at the service of research projects in which actor-explorers and hunter-gatherers seek side by side, sharing the same hacker ethics and the same dedication to transmitting their findings. The programming stems from this “being together”, from an ecosystem where the conditions needed for a share-able world can blossom and where each plant has its ramifications. From a root and its stem, that is the time-space devoted to the workshops, we are offering several branches (the programmes TransPlantation and Espècement) and grafts (with the exceptional guests John Sanborn and Alexis Degrenier, La Tène and our future European resident Graeme Cole). These various programmes involve the guest artists in a different type of transmission, one which operates in a cinema, in front of an audience of curious souls, ready to listen. And we hope they will not hesitate to react. This theoretical open space for film creation is of course an open space for reflection.
COMMITTEE CHTHULU OF PROGRAMMING

With our tentacles dipped into the compost, we are attempting a heterochronic narrative in the Berry region, home to sorcery and the widest variety of bat species in France.
In 2013, we dipped our hands in mud while building a studio for Vidéa Performing Art. This great collective experience gave rise a year on to Hall Noir, created by David Legrand. In the same year, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens were invited by the association Emmetrop to come for a great performance of It’s Time for Ecosex.
And so it goes on. Links are forged and influences leave their imprint on us.

Today our team is:
Isabelle Carlier, practitioner of Aikido, editor, director of Bandits-Mages, member contributor to E.A.R.T.H. Lab and Mémoire de Mondes-Mémoire d’Avenir.
Mathieu Simon, archer, artist, technical director of Bandits-Mages and anonymous hacker.
David Legrand, fencing champion, collective artist and coordinator of Hall Noir, a Hack School devoted to collective creation, without fixed teachers, where guests can mingle with students in the spirit of the great self-run living art workshops.
Quimera Rosa, a laboratory for research and experimentation into identity, the body and technology, founded in Barcelona in 2008, it has been nomadic since May 2014. QR is inspired by the notion of the cyborg defined by Donna Haraway as “chimeras, theorised hybrids, made up of machinery and organisms”.
Marine Armbruster, singer and project manager for Bandits-Mages’ ZAAP (Zone d’Activité Artistique et Pédagogique).

And also:
Les Yeux de l’Ouïe Est (Violaine Higelin, Hadrien Devaux and Anthony Marquelet) aims to develop video creation and distribution as well as associated visual, sound and performing formats; to reveal these scripts in their multi-format dimensions (video art, creative documentaries, experimental cinema, audiovisual, sound or multimedia installations); to join forces with the venues and institutions having similar aims and to set up networks for the exchange of the various artistic processes.

It’s Time (Erik Noulette and Nadège Piton), programming of the association Emmentrop, a response to the urgent need for giving a voice, visibility and production tools to a set of artistic and activist attitudes arising from post-identity and micro-political subcultures.
Alexis Degrenier, failing a career in boxing, a composer and musician (percussion and hurdy-gurdy). Co-director of the label Drone Sweet Drone and member of various groups (La Tène, Outrenoir, Tanz Mein Herz, Minisym, solo…).
Jean-Michel Ponty, artist, musician and publisher, founder of Radio Radio and coordinator of post-graduate sound at the Ensa in Bourges.
Stephen Sarrazin, professor/critic/curator in film and art media, author of essays and monographs, co-editor-in-chief of the magazine Mondes du Cinéma.