Super 8 and archives transferred to HD video
In 2018, Baudelaire met music historian Maxime Guitton in Rome, while researching the anni di piombo, or "years of lead", a period of political upheaval in Italy that stretched from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. Guitton in turn introduced him to the avant-garde American composer Alvin Curran, who has lived in Rome since 1964. Throughout the year, Baudelaire and Guitton recorded long conversations with Curran and visited the Roman landscapes that had inspired him. Echoing the music Curran created from found sounds, this film combines Super 8 footage shot in Rome by Baudelaire and footage found in various archives to create a fascinating portrait of Curran's life and work.
In the late 1960s, Curran and the improvisational group Musica Elettronica Viva (which he co-founded with Frederic Rzewski and Richard Teitelbaum) were commissioned by the Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni to create a soundtrack for his film Zabriskie Point (1970). Ultimately, only a few seconds of this soundtrack were used in the film, and the Hollywood producers imposed a score by Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead instead. Curran’s music was presumed lost, until a 7-minute excerpt recorded on magnetic tape and labelled “Zabriskie Point / Love Scene” was unearthed by music historian Maxime Guitton. In Baudelaire’s film, Musica Elettronica Viva’s fragmented score overlays enigmatic close-ups from Antonioni’s film.
Super 8 and archives transferred to HD video
This film transports us back to the morning of 16 March 1978 in Rome, when Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigades, a far-left armed organisation and guerrilla group. Baudelaire revisits this historic event through the prism of a little-known anecdote about a Roman vendor, Antonio Spiriticchio, who used to sell flowers at the intersection where Moro was kidnapped, but who wasn’t present that morning because his tires were slashed the night before. The story is told through archival footage, excerpts of a police deposition and the recollections of former Red Brigades members, with music by Curran and the Italian electronic music composer Franco Evangelisti.
6 screen prints on paper
each 76 x 102 cm
By declining the phrase in various possible orders, Éric Baudelaire thwarts the finitude to which the sentence seems to condemn music. This work echoes Alvin Curran's reaction to the question put to him by Italian composer Franco Evangelisti on his arrival in Rome: "Don't you know that there is no more music to write?
Yamaha Disklavier piano, digital file
Era Ora (Italian for "it's time") was originally written as a piece for solo piano in 1982. Here, Curran presents a variation on the original composition, played on a suspended Disklavier, a piano with automatic keys.
Found objects, video, hand-written text
Compiled together with Baudelaire, Guitton and artists from Sète (France) and Bristol (England), this collaborative ‘instrumentarium’ brings together a collection of found objects that can be used to make music. Following Curran’s definition, “a musical instrument can be made from any material which can produce audible vibrations”, these objects build up a hybrid acoustic landscape that will be activated during a performance by Curran. “My music”, he writes, “is made from all sounds, human, animal, mechanical, geological, atmospherical…. Just remember: There is music in all things, in all people, in all places, everywhere, all the time.”
Assembled by music historian Maxime Guitton, this collection of photographs, original scores, LPs, concert programs, memorabilia, sketches and posters, stems from research undertaken in Curran’s archives in various locations in and around Rome. The presentation gives invaluable insight into the development of Curran’s expansive experimental practice across three decades.
HD video, stereo sound
A rubber glove escapes into the world at a time of confinement and restrictions on movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The glove bounces and floats through the half-empty streets of Paris, and is accompanied by an original musical score improvised by Curran.
HD video, stereo sound
In the 1990s, soldiers appeared on the streets of Paris. They were deployed as part of Operation Vigipirate in response to terrorist attacks. In 2015, the soldiers reappeared in large numbers and stayed for several years. This film is made up of short videos shot by Baudelaire on his phone on the way home from his studio, and posted on Instagram. When he moved to Rome, Baudelaire continued to film soldiers in the streets. It was then that he met Alvin Curran, whose piece "Walked the Way Home" inspired him to edit these videos together into a film titled after the piece.
Born in Salt Lake City in 1973
Lives and works in Paris
After advanced studies in political science, specializing in the Middle East, Eric Baudelaire began an artistic practice based on photography, print and video. Since 2010, he has established himself as a filmmaker, with his films circulating widely at international festivals and in museums and art centers.
Eric Baudelaire involves the people whose stories they tell, whether talking about Japanese far-left militants involved in terrorist acts in exile in Lebanon, jihad, or the secession of Abkhazia. Un film dramatique (2019) was the result of a four-year process with young teenagers from a middle school near Paris. The film gave rise to the exhibition Tu peux prendre ton temps, which won Eric Baudelaire the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2019.
Curatorial extensions such as these are part of the artist filmmaker's working process, with exhibitions providing an opportunity to show the documents used in the making of the film, to organize meetings with those involved, to cross-fertilize with other artists, and to open up public debate.
Eric Baudelaire's experimental projects are mainly documentary, but he also experiments with fiction. For example, A Flower in the Mouth (2021) is partly based on a short story by Luigi Pirandello. The exhibition Death Passed My Way and Stuck This Flower in My Mouth, at the Kunsthalle St. Gallen, included a video installation (five screens and six sound channels). The flowers, both real and metaphorical, spoke of the human condition during the pandemic.
These methodologies are at the heart of Eric Baudelaire's book Faire avec , co-authored with Erika Balsom and Marcella Lista and published by Paraguay (2022).
Born in 1977 in Dunkirk
Lives in Marseille
Maxime Guitton was assistant to composer Eliane Radigue between 2009 and 2011. His fields of research - minimalist music and the history of mountaineering - have led him to intervene in schools and art centers for courses, workshops, conferences and listening sessions. Since 2017, he has been researching the archives of composer Alvin Curran, begun during a stay as a resident at Villa Medici.
He was head of the creative support department at the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) in Paris. Since 2003, he has also been involved in music programming at independent venues and institutions (BAL, CAPC, Centre Pompidou, etc.). He is currently research coordinator and artistic and cultural programmer at the Beaux-Arts de Marseille.