April 3, 2012

Conversation with Jean Décarie, one of the Videographers of Alexandra

Snapshot from the production

Montréal, Tuesday, April 3, 2012 — Jean Décarie, also known as Neam Cathod, is a veritable multifaceted artist, a one-man orchestra of video, multimedia, interactivity, research-creation and electro-acoustic music. He has collaborated with Chants Libres since 2007 when he worked as the visual designer on the augmented opera Alternate Visions (music, John Oliver / libretto, Genni Gunn).

For Chants Libres’ new chamber opera Alexandra (music, Zack Settel / libretto, Yan Muckle), Pauline Vaillancourt asked him to create the video design using images collected by her and Yan Muckle on their expedition to Tibet in 2010. For structure and the design of the video, he joined forces with Catherine Parent, a graphic artist, who collaborates with him on designs and with teaching.

During a recent conversation, this is what he said about his work and his artistic approach.

“What guides us in the design, is working with time — Buddhist, suspended, and fractured time, and Alexandra David-Néel’s ascent during her expedition in Tibet.

The video is projected on the set (designed by Jocelyne Alloucherie), which alters the scenic elements. We could call it video stage design. The process is similar to the scene painting of previous eras (fixed image) that gave the audience the illusion they were in a different place. With new video technology, the set pieces become… animated. What inspires me, working with the visuals in opera, is Jacques Patin’s notion imagined at the end of the XVIth century, of the set as a theatre of machines.”

The design also requires close links between the director (Pauline Vaillancourt) and the lighting designer (Nicolas Descoteaux). For Jean Décarie this type of interdisciplinary teamwork is very stimulating.

Video retrospective and homage to Jean Décarie/Neam Cathod at the Cinémathèque québécoise

The Cinémathèque québécoise is honouring Jean Décarie/Neam Cathod by presenting his newly restored and digitalized works on April 5 and 6, 2012. Called Jean Décarie/Neam Cathod — The insanity of Memory, this retrospective is presented in two programs at the salle Fernand-Séguin with the artist present.

Chants Libres

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