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Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne
Suisse

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch

Newsletter

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Cie Philippe Saire
Av. de Sévelin 36
1004 Lausanne
Suisse

+41 21 620 00 12 info@philippesaire.ch

Newsletter

Les Sirènes Chant XII ×

The Sirens – Song XII initiates a series of video works related to in-situ performances. Spurred by the success both critical and public of Cartographies, a similar 11-part project spread over ten years that addressed the physical potentialities of Lausanne’s urban environment, this new series develops the songs of Homer’s Odyssey. The objective is to adopt certain references and above all to align the work with our times, in a very contemporary twist.
James Joyce’s transposition in Ulysses serves as a model: References to the epic are transcribed into a very personal register in which the characters inhabit each of the songs in close association with what they experience.
In this film produced by Philippe Saire, the choreographer begins with a very tangible situation that gradually shifts towards a free adaptation of the myth. Three girls at the end of the night, like the sirens in the title, stave off both their impossible harmony and the very fierceness of this impossibility, by metamorphosing into castaways and dragging us into the peacefulness of the ocean.



*To protect himself from the Sirens Ulysses stopped his ears with wax and had himself bound to the mast of his ship. Naturally any and every traveller before him could have done the same, except those whom the Sirens allured even from a great distance; but it was known to all the world that such things were of no help whatever. The song of the Sirens could pierce through everything, and the longing of those they seduced would have broken far stronger bonds than chains and masts. But Ulysses did not think of that, although he had probably heard of it. He trusted absolutely to his handful of wax and his fathom of chain, and in innocent elation over his little stratagem sailed out to meet the Sirens.
Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence. And though admittedly such a thing has never happened, still it is conceivable that someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence certainly never. Against the feeling of having triumphed over them by one's own strength, and the consequent exaltation that bears down everything before it, no earthly powers could have remained intact.
And when Ulysses approached them the potent songstresses actually did not sing, whether because they thought that this enemy could be vanquished only by their silence, or because of the look of bliss on the face of Ulysses, who was thinking of nothing but his wax and his chains, made them forget their singing.
But Ulysses, if one may so express it, did not hear their silence; he thought they were singing and that he alone did not hear them. For a fleeting moment, he saw their throats rising and falling, their breasts lifting, their eyes filled with tears, their lips half-parted, but believed that these were accompaniments to the airs which died unheard around him. Soon, however, all this faded from his sight as he fixed his gaze on the distance, the Sirens literally vanished before his resolution, and at the very moment when they were nearest to him he knew of them no longer.
But they--lovelier than ever--stretched their necks and turned, let their cold hair flutter free in the wind, and forgetting everything clung with their claws to the rocks. They no longer had any desire to allure; all that they wanted was to hold as long as they could the radiance that fell from Ulysses' great eyes.
If the Sirens had possessed consciousness they would have been annihilated at that moment. But they remained as they had been; all that had happened was that Ulysses had escaped them.
A codicil to the foregoing has also been handed down. Ulysses, it is said, was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate could pierce his armour. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent, and opposed the afore-mentioned pretence to them and the gods merely as a sort of shield.*
Franz Kafka (1917)
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Directed & edited by
Philippe Saire

Concept & choreography
Philippe Saire

Choreography in collaboration with the dancers
Kim Ceysens, Maëlle Desclaux, Maïté Jeannolin

Editing consultant & color grading
Bastien Genoux

Sound mixing
Denis Séchaud

Costumes
Isa Boucharlat

Make up
Elisabeth Péclard

Technical director
Vincent Scalbert

Set photography
Vincent Scalbert

Music
*Komm süsser Tod*, Johann Sebastian Bach ; *Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder*, issu de *Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen*, Johann Sebastian Bach

Thanks to
Jean-Charles Balocco / Sara Balocco / CGN: Rémy Cretegny, Eric Soret, Emmanuel Glauser, Yann Minder, Joseph Popotte, Christian Humberset / La Jetée de la Compagnie / Sagrave SA: Didier Aeby / Xavier Weissbrodt

Supports and partners
Ville de Lausanne, Canton de Vaud, Pro Helvetia - fondation suisse pour la culture, Loterie Romande, Sandoz Family Foundation, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Fondation Leenaards, Fondation Nestlé pour l’Art, Migros Culture Percentage, Lausanne Estivale