J’ai connu: for film, three musicians, and electronics (2022).
J’ai connu is a collaboration between journalist Géraldine Schwarz, filmmaker Sebastian Díaz Morales, and composer Claudio F. Baroni.
Experiences of the epidemic inspire this project. J’ai connu is based on a text by the journalist Géraldine Schwarz, which gives socio-historical context to responses to the pandemic.
The cinematographic work was carried out by the filmmaker Sebastián Díaz Morales. And the concept and music were written by myself.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I read daily about world events, events that completely reshaped our way of communicating, relations between humans, and our perception of reality. This made me want to create work that can reveal, capture and document current events, using music, film, and text as another way to make people aware of what is happening around the world and bring to light a possible future suggested by the most thoughtful writer I’ve been reading.
In this project, I selected the most intriguing texts I had read, (Essay memoire XXe) by Géraldine Schwarz, as the basis for a musical narrative on a world simultaneously united and in crisis due to the pandemic.
Sebastián Díaz Morales made the film, motivated by the text and the music he weaved between the filming of scattered objects (in the foreground) in an imaginary space and fragments (parts) of an anonymous body.
J’ai connu is part of an ongoing series in my projects, which I call experimental opera. Apart from having a substantial distance from what we know as opera in music, there is something that intertwines these works: the use of images and texts as narrative and poetic material.
The text, as in my previous work, “the body imitates the landscape” (thebody.aholl-studio.org) is pre-recorded. The recorded voice is what organizes the sound territory. The film, masterfully created by Díaz Morales, operates as a counterpoint between the text and the music, adding a poetic and mysterious line to the narrative.
J’ai connu is the first part of the triptych we are developing with the artists mentioned above.
Géraldine Schwarz is a German-French journalist, author, and documentary filmmaker based in Berlin. Those Who Forget, an account of her family’s complicity with fascism, is her first book. It has been translated into eight languages and won the European Book Prize 2018, the German Winfried Preis, and the Italian Nord-Sud Prize.
The film was made by artist Sebastian Diaz Morales, with whom I have previously worked on different projects that were presented, among others, at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and Venice Biennale.
In his works, the narrative elements often remain minimalist, but the visual language triggers numerous associations that enable the discovery of a fresh approach to reality. He gives close attention to details such as faces, body parts, landscapes, and text. His films seem realistic, but a symbolic, metaphorical dimension gradually takes over as they unfold.
J’ai connu by Claudio F. Baroni
Text Géraldine Schwarz Film Sebastian Díaz Morales Music Claudio F. Baroni
Voice Isabelle Vigier – Electric guitar Jeroen Kimman – Piano Reinier van Houdt
Double bass Dario Calderone – Electronics and tape – Claudio F. Baroni
Actress – Anne-Laure Ruffin
Camera, light, and editing – Sebastian Díaz Morales
Music recorded (edition-C.F.Baroni) and mastered by sound engineer Joeri Saal , with the assistance of Tom Geenen at Studio 150, Amsterdam.
This composition and audiovisual production were partly realized thanks to Buma Cultuur, Dutch Composers NOW, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science ( The Netherlands ).