For De/tours in London 2014 and beyond see: detours2
De/tours formed part of this yearlong exploration of Marseille-Provence 2013 (European Capital of Culture). As Europe entered a fifth year of crisis Decentrederspace invited a number of international artists to contribute to a residency programme, based in Marseille.
Work made by the artists included performances, situations and artistic research practices that responded to the idea of ‘European Capital of Culture’ from a marginal outside, and wholly foreign perspective. All these artistic interventions were offered as detours or digressions from the official Marseille-Provence 2013 Capital of Culture programme, creating temporary artistic insertions as cultural exchange, and as offerings in/to Marseille. In this publication Decentrederspace has collected together the residues and memories of these artistic intrusions. 2014
Link to flipbook March 2014
“ ….above all, everything was suddenly submerged in the noises of voices, not of street. What was most peculiar about this din of voices was that it sounded entirely like dialect. The people of Marseille suddenly did not speak good enough French for me. They were stuck at the level of dialect. The phenomenon of alienation that may be involved in this…”the more closely you look at a word, the more distantly it looks back”-appears to extend to the optical. At any rate, I find among my notes the surprised comment: “How things withstand the gaze!” (Benjamin: 678)
De/Tours is a series of publications and expositions created out of Decentrederspace cultural exchange programme and from artist mini-residencies. Publications from October 2013
“If confusion is the sign of the times, I see at the root of this confusion a rupture between things and words, between things and the ideas and signs that are their representation… We must insist upon the idea of culture-in-action, of culture growing within us like a new organ, a sort of second breath; and on civilization as an applied culture controlling even our subtlest actions, a presence of mind; …we can begin to form an idea of culture, an idea which is first of all a protest. A protest against the senseless constraint imposed upon the idea of culture by reducing it to a sort of inconceivable Pantheon,…a protest against the idea of culture as distinct from life- as if there were culture on one side and life on the other, as if true culture were not a refined means of understanding and exercising life.” (Artaud: 7-10)
Inside Out Blues
(Sur L’Envers Blues)
DeCentreDerSpace Residency in Marseille, May 2013
Song-film/Performance by Anne Robinson
Song-film: The Inside Out Blues makes a sound thread for a film. The voice is on the inside coming out Surrealist poet/writer/artist/thinker Artaud’s last work To Have Done With the Judgement of God, written for radio in France in 1947, worked with the extremes of unsettling ‘mad’ noises, shouts, cries and glossolalia. Artaud particularly wanted workers, people working with their hands and bodies, perhaps those most imprisoned in the body, to hear his work. Scheduled to air early in 1948, it was pulled from the broadcasting schedule at the last minute. The night before it had been due to air, a programme was broadcast on French radio advocating engagement with American popular culture as an antidote to Nazi occupation, intentional hegemonic repression, still visible in the gross gentrifying of Marseilles as ‘capital of capital’.
The blues is an American form and African form, a workers’ form… a passionate, convulsive, cruel, direct and affecting kind of utterance with a deep magic mojo invocation of what is lost and what could be.. voices raising disembodied inside-out spirits of the lost and dispossessed and of Artaud the mad radio star of Marseilles who left and never came back and of maddeded, suicided painters in the southern light. The voice comes from the inside and emerges as noise we feel as much as understand, a spirit form carried on the air while the body creeps, crawls, contorts and cringes.
On the edge of fortress Europe, the voice can cross borders in frenzied dance that soars over the razor wires of the rich and dives /’divers’ under the sea. ‘chantier: acces interdit’ become ‘à chanter pour la liberté’… across the laws and borders made to keep people out, to let the outside-in. Algerian, Tunisian, African invisible spirits fleeting on the streets, out of sight, fleeting, migrant and on the other side, letting the inside-out.. millions of others closed in, chained, imprisoned in the new fortresses of capital.. not allowed out to the edge of the sea, to the boats and the deep.. ‘Acces Interdit’, you are being filmed..
Performance: A blues invoking the spirit of Artaud and the workers of Marseille, bringing them back to the place their time was waste. This is a song in blues form that draws on the texts Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society and To Have Done With the Judgement of God by Artaud. The song is passed on from singer to encountered listener to singer again through the streets of Marseilles until there is a moment of voices all at once singing through the city. Voices rise in a deranged, murmuring wave. The singer dances and the spirit of Artaud, Van Gogh and a thousand un-named workers dance ‘as in a frenzy of dancehalls’ back in the streets of Marseille.
This took place as a series of encounters during the day and the song was sung at 8pm on 27th May 2013. The following is an extract from the song text used on streets:
‘At the time you have been given and wherever you may be, please sing this line to the tune you learned or to another tune:
Just like in the frenzy of the dancehalls
I’m dancing inside out
Just like in the frenzy of the dancehalls
I’m dancing on the wrong side out
(Repeat for a few minutes or for as long as you can)
‘This song is called ‘Inside Out Blues’ and it is based on the final part of a radio play by Antonin Artaud called ‘To Have Done With the Judgement of God’. This text was to have been broadcast on the radio in France on on February 2, 1948, but it was cancelled and Artaud died a month later. The piece follows his idea of the Theatre of Cruelty, with screams, cries and other unsettling sounds. Artaud was born and grew up in Marseilles and later became a poet, film actor, theatre director and surrealist. He is,without doubt, one of the most influential artistic and intellectual figures of the 20th century, but he has been absent from these streets during the 2013 ‘city of culture’. Artaud especially wanted his radio play to be heard by workers. This song-work has been made by Anne Robinson, an artist from London.’
Artaud, Antonin (1947) ‘To Have Done With the Judgement of God’ in Sontag, S. (ed.) Antonin Artaud, selected writings, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp 483-514
Artaud, Antonin (1947) ‘Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society’ in Sontag, S. (ed.) Antonin Artaud, selected writings, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pp 555-574
Film credits: (work in progress) Devised & sound by Anne Robinson
Camera: Anne Robinson and Charlie Fox
Artist details: Anne Robinson is a multi disciplinary visual artist, mainly working with ideas about time,who lives and works in east London and teaches at London Met University.)
Selections from works may be found at: