Antoine Chessex


Note by Antoine Chessex

Sonority essentially resounds: it is in itself resonance. One could say that echo is part of the sound, that it belongs to its immanence (...). Resonance is inside of sound itself: a sound is its own echo chamber (...). The ancient Greek êkhéô, from which “echo” comes, means to “make noise” as well as “to resound”. (...) A sound is always returned, restored: it is restored from itself to itself.
Jean-Luc Nancy, Foreword to
 Listen: a history of our ears by Peter Szendy

If sound is always resounding and returned to itself then what is the possible sound of the ruins and how to work among them?

The drastic violence of the present time makes it necessary to interrogate how we inhabit the world we are living in while (re)thinking the (inter)relations and interactions we might be involved with. This is sometimes what artists try to do. Within the Great Acceleration that is currently being experienced, the devastating destruction of humans and non-humans, social structures and the biosphere are happening at such a velocity that it becomes difficult to consider a possible future outside the nightmarish perspective of an exponential catastrophe unfolding irrepressibly while many bored consumers stare at their cell phone screens like monitored zombies. The global and corrupted hegemonic machine has proven so far being fundamentally unable to regulate, limit or moderate itself by any sorts, thus the absolute finality of its very existence seems more and more likely to be self- annihilation, leaving behind vast continents of sickness, pollution, death and destruction. A field of ruins that is.

These are some of the thoughts going through my head while starting to reflect the writing of this new work for the ensemble ICTUS named subsequently “La Résonance des Ruines”. As soon as I attempt to think about possible sound to focus on, I try to imagine how do ruins sound like and if we could create a wall of bare frequencies resounding in the space like a gigantic collapsed architecture destroyed by its own hubris. These are the imaginary sounds I will have in minds while developing a structure for this new piece which will lead to a collective sonic exploration with the musicians of the ensemble ICTUS featuring Jérôme Noetinger triggering time shifts with his reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Perhaps, we might even discover a hidden potentiality of restoring what can be restored. Music is the healing force of the universe once sung Mary Maria Parks on the marvellous Albert Ayler’s recording of the same name.

On yet another level, learning to live in a field of ruins is not deprived of poetical potential and might even be a somehow enlightening endeavour while searching for the cracks and the interstices in between the concrete, the steel and the plastic remains, hopefully discovering hidden places where the mauvaise herbe can unfold.

Antoine Chessex, August 2019


La résonance des ruines
a new piece by Antoine Chessex
with Ictus & Jérôme Noetinger (Revox)


Hanna Kölbel, cello
Adrien Lambinet, trombone
Gerrit Nulens, percussion
Jean-Luc Plouvier, DX7
Jérôme Noetinger, Revox & electronics


Production Antoine Chessex
Coproduction Ictus
WIth the support of
Pro Helvetia     

Presented by
Ancienne Belgique & Atelier Claus