photo: Wolfgang Schäfer (left), Daniel Theunynck (right)
Collaboration Moeno Wakamatsu and Lê Quan Ninh
Two links of youtube videos with Lê Quan Ninh below:
I would like to approach this collaboration as a Laboratory with Ninh and the dancers (and musicians) who will join us. In “Seminars” or “Workshops”, often people come expecting to be taught. On the contrary, what I would like to “teach” is rather how we can learn from listening to our own selves. Although for the sake of practicality I use the words seminars and workshops, I prefer “a “Laboratory” where we pursue honest experiences without sense of right or wrong, but not to be tolerant on ourselves for not facing truth, to be strict without judgements or criticisms, to make “mistakes” which are not mistakes, to face great excitement as well as great frustration — and through all of it to calmly breathe.
Much of what I try to share with dancers who join me in the seminars now and in the past years, I believe will become experientially, physically, sensorially clear in the presence of Ninh and his work. I am often working with things that are not so easily visible or able to be distinguished by the senses except through sensitivity and silence of the mind. However, the art of Ninh will suddenly intensify what is there, what is normally not visible nor audible. As vibrations of his sound, one will experience reality physically and organically.
When I stand on stage with Ninh, his presence, his silence, his sound are one: his playing and the sense of space and time cannot be distinguished — he simply magnifies and intensifies the felt world, making vibrant. Suddenly, a space that before was nothing will become animated, filled with magic. Ninh’s sound enters through skin, through flesh, not violently but in a way that one cannot resist against. One can sense the flesh vibrating differently from bone, the bone differently from organs, the hair, the fluid, the air that make us — the vibration is like a consciousness that enters and fills the body — the body can no longer withstand this heightened awareness, and explodes or implodes into movement. In movement, the sound continues to penetrate. As the sound makes substance of the space around and makes substance of our body, we become the substance of the sound and the outside world.
Ninh’s work has transformed how I experience “sound”. When I speak about “Ninh’s sound”, I speak not only about the sound that comes from his instruments, but the sound when he plays no physical sound…. If there can be such thing as a “quality of silence”, his silence can have infinite qualities. It would make appear not only the sound of the space or the sound of the breathing of the audience, but even the inaudible sound of the consciousness in the space, or the sound inside my body, sound of my thinking, sound of the audience thinking, sound of memories and feelings. Yet on the other hand, I have experienced with Ninh’s work, as the awareness begins to almost lose the sense of time, I would slip into what seems (feels) like a complete silence — even if the space is filled with actual sounds — as if there is nothing, as if no sound exists, and I do not exist. It makes me wonder “what is subjectively a sound to me?”
Playing with Ninh I compared once to wearing red shoes — that the body begins to dance without my will. It is as if the sound and the dance take the will of the world. The body moves without one’s permission, the control wants to lose itself. Or the body will be compelled not to move at all, yet in this non-movement the dance overflows into space.
I would want any dancer to experience the richness and the pleasure (and the risk) of playing with Ninh.
Lê Quan Ninh Biography
As a classical trained percussionist, Lê Quan Ninh worked with contemporary music ensembles and was a founder member of Quatuor Hêlios (1986-2012), a percussion quartet that performed and recorded, among others, John Cage's percussion works. Their last creation was Seul à Seuls by Georges Aperghis premiered in late 2006 at the Musica Festival in Strasbourg (France).
As an improvisor, he participates at numerous meetings in Europe and in North America and plays regularly in ensembles in forms that mix improvised acoustic & electroacoustic music, 'performance art', dance, poetry, experimental cinema, photography and video.
With the cellist Martine Altenburger, he founded in 2006 the ensemble]h[iatus, a contemporary music ensemble whose its members are at the same time interpreters and improvisers. They commissioned pieces to the composers Vinko Globokar, Peter Jakober, Steffen Krebber, Jennifer Walshe and Anthony Pateras.
His discography counts about 40 CD on european and north american labels. The last release (Aplomb, 2015) is a duet with his long term colleague Michel Doneda.
In 2014, he publishes the translation of his book Improvising Freely. The ABCs of an Experience (previously published in french).