Followed by Voicing through Saussure
  • Sound and vocal performance
© Traghetto

Traghetto is a Swiss collective producing performances that focus on language. For more than 20 years, the work of the duo Vincent Barras, historian of medicine and performer, and Jacques Demierre, pianist and composer, further develops and questions the tradition of sonic and poetic experimentation at the intersection of literature and music, two traditional categories.


The Galerie B-312 would like to thank Centre des arts actuels Skol and Centre Clark for loaning their equipment. 

30 October 2018

Galerie B-312 is pleased to welcome Traghetto, a Swiss duo who presents two sound poetry performances: Interpreting BarDem Interpreting (IBDI) and Voicing through Saussure. The first performance follows a long-term work on the origins of speech, based on the research of the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure on Indo-European languages. In addition to the duo there will e four other participants. At the Galerie B-312, guests will translate perceived words or spoken sentences in a language that is familiar to them.

The starting point of IBDI is the soundtrack material recorded during filming of Veronique Goël’s Voicing through Saussure (2009). While experiencing the sound dimension of speech by vocal and articulatory experiments, the duo reflects on the compositional and poetic processes implemented. The work of composition on these film sequences, that use specific techniques of notation and transcription inspired by conversational analysis, leads to a new text-score, allowing to the speech to be performed as a "total sound object ": moments of conversation and sound objects, which contain, alongside the "clear discourse" with the underlying "meaning", the whole mass of "parasitic" sound events, accents, stammers, sighs, hesitations, failures, noises…

Ferdinand de Saussure, late nineteenth-century Geneva scholar, founder of contemporary linguistics, analysed in details the lost sounds of ancient languages: Sanskrit, Old Persian, Gothic, Lithuanian, Slavonic, Old French, Latin, Greek…: imagined vibrations, silent, of extinct words whose decomposition would help to trace back to the mother tongue.  Voicing through Saussure takes up the linguist’s program and turns it into a poetic proposition. Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre re-elaborate and recompose the fragments of languages analysed by Saussure. Articulated in a triptych, the text-score develops into a linguistic flow from the tiny particles of the verbal material, according to its requirements, in the realization of its concrete and corporal dimensions: an epic of the language accomplished in the performance of a word.

With : Marianna Chiossi | Jean-Marc Fredette | Maryam Izadifard | Prachi Khandekar