Close your eyes and picture this:
There is a small concert hall.
There are around 100 people.
They are sitting on beanbags, spilling over the stage, sitting on the steps, lying behind the bar, lying on the bar…the room is bursting with bodies.
The lights go off.
A small torch breaks the dark.
A man uses the light from the torch to hit PLAY.
The torch is flicked off, and we all wait in silence.
Welcome to the bimonthly Goûter d’écoute (Listening taster) held at the uber-cool and très bobo Point Ephémère on the banks of the canal where Arte Radio puts together a selection of three roughly 20-minute-long documentaries/audio clips, or “cinéma pour les oreilles” (cinema for the ears) for the free entertainment of whoever turns up.
Last Sunday, we were treated to some very different subjects, starting with a young lady recalling her harrowing experience of rape, a short fly-on-the-wall documentary on a man whose makes 3000 euros a month in illegal benefits, and lastly an insight into the French middle class and their political leanings (now that we are approaching the elections). After each piece there was a quick question and answer session with each producer.
The idea of sitting in the dark with a hundred strangers, listening to a few recordings, was a strange concept. I didn’t know what to expect. But it was actually a hugely liberating experience just being able to close my eyes and focus on sound – free from visual images adding clutter to the content. You realise how much a simple piece of audio has its own depths, playing with background noises, accents and silences – all creating an auditory journey.
Each piece presented monologues by one or several individuals. The speaker was not restrained by interview-style questions, but was free to express themselves; often moving between locations in a series of pieced-together recordings, creating a dimension of time and space.
I really recommend checking out the next Goûter d’écoute, which will be held at the Point Ephémère on the 25 March apparently (although this doesn’t make much sense if it is supposed to happen once every two months.) It’s a great way to spend your Sunday afternoon!
Vive la curiosité!~ Mustard ~
Check out the online radio documentaries at www.arteradio.com/rubrique/4/documentaires/ where you can find topics ranging from riots in Morocco to the rise and fall of 80s rock.
Point Ephémère, 200 quai de Valmy 75010 Paris
Metro Jaurès, Louis Blanc or Stalingrad