Gaëtan Robillard

Very High Frequencies of solitude
3’24’’ – 2014

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Can you say something about Very High Frequencies of solitude, the work you will present at Helicotrema 2014?

I made Very High Frequencies of solitude with a record from a solitary journey on a 6 meters sailing boat in the Tyrrhenian sea of Italy. This radio character you can hear is broadcasted from the VHF Channel 68. As I listened to the weathercast frequently, I slowly understood this person wasn’t really a person but rather a voice and a text that were automatically generated. The text is each time variable and long though, as it has to enumerate many different areas around Italy and beyond. It also lists for each geographical area moments in the 12/24 hours to come. With this audio work, I tried to re create the relation I had with the VHF on board during the journey. More than that, I thought that this record I did might well become a form of writing.
The title of the work seem to hide a reference to Glenn Gould’s radio-documentary series The solitude trilogy. Is that a reference for you, and what other references can you mention for what regards your work with sound?

This is right, I was very much thinking of Glenn Gould’s radio-documentaries when preparing the work for your festival. Even more so when remembering Gould magnifying his relation to recording. Also I find his modernistic view of solitude a strong basis for thinking our contemporary world. It found great echoes in my recent experience of the western italian sea shore, like in Roma Fiumicino Canal or further at sea in the port of the Giglio Island.
Further along, I am working these days on a research project with Bernard Stiegler and IRI from Centre Pompidou, about improvisation and how recording and listening to the records became in itself a direct tool for musicians to extend their improvisation skills. It is mainly about repetition and difference. It’s a very exciting project that will result in a philosophy and music festival in Belgium next summer.
Your recent work seems to have a special relation to the sea. Could you say something about it?

It’s now about three years I started effectively to be attracted by subjects on the shore or at sea. It is quite often about landscape, and sometimes about figures like this solitary computer voice. Thus I have a long term project which is to establish a fresco of the contemporary shore.