A Return to Life

Artistic creation is an essential part of life, and the ManiFeste festival gives it free rein, in an exceptional edition scheduled from August 31 to September 13.  Re-opening the Grande salle at the Centre Pompidou, IRCAM’s international festival is reconnecting with artists and spectators in Beaubourg as well as at La Villette, Philharmonie de Paris, and the Théâtre de Gennevilliers. Companies and musicians had to be able to find their way back to performance halls and the audiences' attention. A ManiFeste for art which, alone, creates differences and sentiments, possible worlds and individuality; a ManiFeste for life, not simply for survival. Through fifteen concerts and installations, from an emerging generation of artists to the shadow cast by the pioneers, the 2020 rendezvous exposes the powers of sound and the enchantments of voice.


When to say or sing is to act and to convince! Among the voices of ManiFeste, Juliet Fraser, Sarah Maria Sun, Agata Zubel, Otto Katzameier but also Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, archives come alive again. The unhoped-for alliance between language and sound runs through the portraits of Rebecca Saunders and Stefano Gervasoni, the rhetoric of affects mobilizes Marta Gentilucci and Salvatore Sciarrino. The festival's voices are also those of fiction: Maylis de Kerangal, Céline Minard, and Annie Ernaux. IRCAM launches its collection of Musiques-Fictions, where the music is anything but fictional. Mobilizing authors, composers, directors, and actors, the Musiques-Fictions series imagines an immersive device for collective listening. To the text, all the intelligibility; to the music, a room of its own, a world in itself.

In the cultural cataclysm provoked by the health crisis, IRCAM is working on the urgent, immediate life of artists and their works, which will all be premiered. In the intermediate term, IRCAM innovation has enabled the conception of virtual rooms and online studios that renew production practices.  In the long term, cultural habits have been transformed. ManiFeste-2020 has acquired a second virtual stage: all public events are filmed and broadcast live or recorded, with binaural sound restitution. At the same time, IRCAM has launched a subsidiary, Ircam Amplify, to bring the audio revolution into everyday life. Alongside the powers of art, the powers of sound today touch unsuspected fields, cultural and creative industries, robotics and sound design, mobility, care and health... From the same source (the scientific laboratory, the artist's studio), a delta is expanding for the coming decade.

Frank Madlener, IRCAM Director

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