Gérald Kurdian, biography / interview

Foto: Gerald Kurdian

Foto: Gérald Kurdian


Gérald Kurdian (FR), performer, songwriter and radio-artist, studied visual arts in Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts de Paris-Cergy before taking part in the EX.E.R.CE 07 contemporary dance program directed by Mathilde Monnier (Centre Choregraphique de Montpellier) and Xavier Le Roy. His musical performances – Royal Gala (2005); 1999 (2009); 18 Chansons (2010); My first club song ever (2011); The Magic of Spectacular Theater (2012) – have been shown in various places (Centre Pompidou – Metz, Fondation Cartier, Théâtre de la Cité Internationale, MAC/VAL, Lieu unique, La Villette, Plateau Frac-idf, Centre Chorégraphique de Montpellier,…) and during several festivals such as Crossing the Line, Les Inaccoutumés, Steirischer Herbst, Tupp, Baltoscandal, FAR, Circular, Uzes Danse, Montpellier Danse and sommer.bar, Tanz im August festival. He has created several radio-documentaries and radio projects exploring sound performativity and contemporary arts critique. In parallel, he focused on, This is the hello monster!, his avant-pop solo band. Winner of the Paris Jeunes Talents contest and supported by the FAIR 2010, he performs regularly in France and abroad. His first LP, released in April 2010 on Bs records / Gommette publishing / Idol, was selected by the French newspaper Libération as record of the year 2010.





G: Where are you starting from and how?


GK: Since my very first attempts to the more articulated, yet still endlessly in process, performances I’m developing these days, I’ve been insisting on finding transverse, diagonal ways to experience pop music, presence and language/s. Being simultaneously a musician – working in the liberal, marketed field of indie electronic music – and a contemporary theatre performer – developing his work with institutional means – I have been very often confronted with paradoxical logics related to production, spectatorship or contexts (we share art in). This helped me define a methodology of work which would help me, and the audience, accept synergistically the idea of a show behaving as a monstrous body. It had, and still has, to do with accepting doubt, absurdity, paradoxes.

I’m now developing means to bypass expectations on both formal and conceptual levels and try to gradually define pan-disciplinary approaches to produce music and pieces. This means I try to 1. focus on experience, 2. avoid any hierarchy in the display of media, format or meeting point and 3. make it an audience/performer collaboration.


G:  Which way are you going?


GK: I’m a self-taught musician; therefore my whole practice has been shaped by an empiric, experiential relationship to production (of art). It gave me a sense of craft, a need for body-scaled, shareable practices. I guess today every single one of my efforts has to do with learning, a new instrument, a new dispositif, another location.

On the level of influences, there are two streams. The first one comes directly from contemporary art/dance practices mainly connected to editing processes, materialist/gender/ queer theory and a strong amour for objects. The second from indie pop and electronics especially 80′s visionaries such as Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson or Suicide who seem to catch up on music history as much as they opened fields of researches, perspectives and soundscapes.


G: Where are you going to?


Hard one. I have the sensation art’s aim should remain uncanny, somehow underlying. I nevertheless can identify superficial efforts, more obvious directions in my choices such as emancipating spectatorship (by a redefinition of our responsibilities, an awakening of our possibilities, a circulation through our subtle dimensions), exhausting contemporary vocabularies (although this is almost impossible and/or would be some semiologist’s job) so let’s say, at least playing with them, triggering emotions and/or affects to disarm both the performer and audience, opening possibilities in the frame of creation, production or distribution of art.

I wish to continue working as a musician, it’s such a fractal and endless process and it feels things and questions keep opening up. In this frame the project-by-project methodology appears to be the more handy to stay focused and dig in.

I’ve been mainly working at home until now but I’ve recently felt the need to shift contexts. I am hence setting up an experimental pop studio project, L’Atelier Pop Corn, to keep on producing records, videos and live shows and invite other musicians to oblique musical projects.