A concrete / post-digital oratorio in 5 parts.
Relocated in the French Alps following a 5 years exile in Belgium, Félicia Atkinson returns on Shelter Press with A Readymade Ceremony
, a concrete / post-digital oratorio in 5 parts.
Composed and recorded at home and on the Oregon coast, the opus documents a full range of bridges happening in Atkinson's work. It documents the gather of her early-musical studies with her actual musical practice, the reunion of her two main projects—under her own name and Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier — and finally affirms the obvious link between her visual and sonic body of work.
Félicia Atkinson is a visual artist, a writer and musician graduated from Les Beaux-Arts de Paris. Her visual works—sculptures, paintings, installations and collages—includes a variety of media gathered together through the use of improvisation and its patterns such as delay, loop and saturations, with a chosen list of special tools: clay, silk, spray paint, watercolor, wood, or digital images...
Using the improvisation as a main technique to play music, write poetry and make art, her latest output is the book Improvising Sculpture as Delayed Fictions
, a fiction / play published by Shelter Press in the fall of 2014.
Pursuing a radical position in the art world with the use of a publishing / economical autonomy as a very crucial element driving her carrier, this LP has been entirely recorded on her laptop using a super basic software. Félicia Atkinson reaffirms here the importance of the DIY in her creating process: the artist-run space
as a place to exhibit, the studio space as a whole territory to record, the book as a score, the record itself as a proper documentation for a possible sculpture.
A readymade as the migration of one thing to another one's context, involving a change of status, of genre, of politics. A ceremony as a possible gathering, a community shared moment, a happening, a celebration, a protest.
The first foundation of A Readymade Ceremony
is the text, spread along the 5 tracks building the record. The text is a collage of extracts of Improvising Sculpture as Delayed Fictions
(Félicia Atkinson, 2014), Recherche de la Base et du Sommet
(René Char, 1955), and Madame Edwarda
(Georges Bataille, 1937), and some random texts lying around while Atkinson was playing, mostly picked in the italian magazine Mousse
Objects speaking, sculptures arguing : there is a surrealistic feel in the dark whisperings that we can hear responding to Madame Edwarda
an erotic text featured on the 2nd track “L'oeil”. A theatre of objects and desires, de-materialization of bodies through the sounds, it's a gate open to concrete music and sound poetry.
The other founding element is Atkinson's getting back to her first encounter with contemporary music. Starting her musical education at the age of 4 acquiring music skills with the Martenot Method—a method that emphasis on rhythm and an intuitive and phenomenological learning of sound—she also got the chance to encounter at school the Structures Baschet from the Frères Baschet.
She then learned harp and piano before dropping it at 14, when she got more interested in theatre and indie rock. That is the moment she discovered the texts of the heritage of French literature such as Georges Bataille, Antonin Artaud
, René Char, Henri Michaux
or Jean Genet
. Writers she convokes again 17 years after on this new record.
As a student she did a crucial workshop with Christian Wolff
who made the art school students interpret Cornelius Cardew
, and play music with stones and kitchen wares at the school's chapel. At same time she became interested by John Cage
, Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman
, electro-acoustic music and contemporary art... and began to play music and do art... But it took her more than 10 years to acknowledge and digest those influences... blending them with rougher materials such as noise, punk rock, drone, folk and electronic music, but also cinema from the 70's such as Brian de Palma, Nicolas Roeg, or Dario Argento. There's something about a possible scary music that happens here, from a feeling she felt while listening to Pierre Henry's “Apocalypse de Jean” as a kid: something scary and beautiful in the same time.... something uncanny, as Ruth White reciting Baudelaire... as a readymade ceremony.
Experimental musician, sound and visual artist Félicia Atkinson (born 1981) lives on the wild coast of Normandy (France). She has played music since the early 2000s. She has released many records and a novel on Shelter Press
, the label and publisher she co-runs with Bartolomé Sanson.
For Félicia Atkinson, human voices inhabit an ecology alongside and within many other things that don't speak, in the conventional sense: landscapes, images, books, memories, ideas. The French electro-acoustic composer and visual artist makes music that animates these other possible voices in conversation with her own, collaging field recording, MIDI instrumentation, and snippets of essayistic language in both French and English. Her own voice, always shifting to make space, might whisper from the corner or assume another character's tone. Atkinson uses composing as a way to process imaginative and creative life, frequently engaging with the work of visual artists, filmmakers, and novelists. Her layered compositions tell stories that alternately stretch and fold time and place, stories in which she is the narrator but not the protagonist.
Félicia Atkinson has collaborated with musicians including Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
, Chris Watson, Christina Vantzou, and Stephen O'Malley
, and with ensembles including Eklekto (Geneva) and Neon (Oslo). She has performed at venues and festivals including INA GRM/Maison de la Radio and the Philharmonie (Paris), Issue Project Room (NYC), the Barbican Center (London), Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Atonal (Berlin), Henie Onstad (Oslo), Unsound (Krakow), and Skanu Mesz (Riga). Her work has been commissioned by filmmakers (Ben Rivers
, Chivas de Vinck) and fashion houses (Prada, Burberry). She has exhibited in museums, galleries, and biennials including RIBOCA Biennale (Riga), Overgaden (Copenhagen), BOZAR (Brussels), Espace Paul Ricard (Paris), and MUCA ROMA (Mexico City).