Since 2019, the Ministry of Culture has been supporting research projects led by artists from the theatre, circus, puppetry, street arts, mime, storytelling and the arts of gesture, in collaboration with scientific and cultural actors.
Each laureate contributes, in his field, to renew the aesthetics, to enrich the knowledge on the creative processes or to nourish the pedagogies. To understand these steps, here are six portraits of artists in research, winners of the 2020 edition of this call for projects.
Next meeting to discover the richness and diversity of all the projects carried out, on February 2 and 3, 2023 at the Studio-Théâtre de Vitry for the event “Exposing research: gestures and knowledge of artists”.
To make actresses and actors hear the elements of prosody (melody of speech) identified by the linguistics so that the ' sensitivity, as in blotting paper, happens automatically almost, without intention ». Halfway between the sciences of language and pedagogy, Arnaud Churin’s research aims to open the voice on the stage, training the actors of today and tomorrow to a new approach to verbal play.
Director, director of the Sirène Tubiste company, pedagogical advisor for the Théâtre National de Bretagne (TNB) from 2012 to 2018, Arnaud Churin built his relationship with research through transmission. It is in fact by collaborating with linguists in the framework of a study workshop with actors apprentices that the project to invent an exercise on the prosody of the interpreted speech is born.
While speech is the actor’s primary material, his “technical” approach — intonation, accent, rhythm, and other prosodic inflections — are often neglected or at least ignored in the work of interpretation. It is based on this observation that he collaborates with linguist Rémi Godement-Berline during the "language exploration" workshops. This research aims, as much to study the prosody of actors, as to help them to become aware of it to better understand it in the creative process. In the same way that a musician hears tones by linking the placement of his fingers on his instrument, the actor must manage to spot what is said and how. The exercise is therefore called the scales of speech, recalling the practice of musicians.
Arnaud Churin sees research as inseparable from the creative process. He thus wishes to explore an angle still too little approached according to him in theatrical studies: the question of the game. In a context where the interpretation possibilities of the actors are materially more and more constrained, especially in terms of rehearsal times, work on new ways of conceiving the game, spinning, improvisation, is more than crucial for the director. It is in this that the study of prosody has much to contribute to the theatre of speech defended by Arnaud Churin, mixing the operating modes of linguistics with artistic practice.
Although his workshops are accessible to everyone, the first audience Arnaud Churin aims for through his research are the students of theatre schools. Workshops at the ESAD and the Conservatoire de Nantes are among his projects for the coming year.
In the long term, Arnaud Churin would like to contribute to the development of a master’s degree in research and creation that would concern plateau practice, a project for which partners are still to be found.
Third Generation Company
For nearly twelve years, the Compagnie Troisième Génération has been working to break down the barriers between the arts of mime and gesture, demonstrating all their timeliness and stage eloquence. Their research aims to put body dramaturgy back at the heart of theatrical writing, by crossing the techniques of mime, with those of cinema and comics.
The Third Generation Company was founded by Sergi Emiliano I Griell and Agnès Delachair. It brings together young European actors around a common desire to dust off the image of mime, to make it a fully-fledged playing technique, in the service of theatrical writing. Their creations have won several awards, including from Groupe Geste(s) - a group of performing arts professionals whose goal is to promote creation and dissemination in the field of mime and gesture arts - in 2013 and 2017. For more than a year, they have been associated with the Odyssey – Scène conventionnée de Périgueux.
From the outset, they envisioned research as a crucial and necessary step in their project of renovation and exploration of mime and gesture techniques. They consider research times as privileged moments, allowing them to pursue and deepen their artistic insights. These works also give them the opportunity to foster fruitful dialogues with their partner institutions, notably the Odyssey and the Victor Hugo Theatre in Bagneux, as well as with other artists from various disciplines.
The challenge of the research carried out by the company is to recreate in the stage space and through the body of the actor-mime, a representation of time similar to that at work in a cinematic montage: ellipses, travellings, values of movement, fields/counterfields... It is therefore a question of inventing a new physical language, through the crossing of artistic disciplines, in which movement would suffice itself in its expressiveness, and supplant the recourse to the narration and the psychology of the characters.
It is above all on stage that the company wishes to transmit and share the results of its research, giving to see their experiences and their reflections. Anxious not to do elitist research, but indeed accessible to all, their work is aimed at the general public, as well as academic researchers, actors, directors, theatres and professionals.
In a context where theorization is still rare in the field of mime, the work of artists like the Third Generation Company plays a very important role. However, the objectives of their work transcend the boundaries of their discipline alone. According to them, this is much more than to restore to the theatre a specificity that would give it a different scope, […] a new breath, that would be alive, attractive, hypnotic, and that would truly put the actors back at the center ».
Several research results from the Third Generation Company will be presented in their next show, One day everything will light up, which will premiere in January 2023 at the Théâtre de l'Odyssée de Périgueux.
Transmission and transversality are two key components of Claire Heggen’s creative and research work. With her work on the “grammar of the relationship” between the marionnettic object and the moving body, she identifies in the form of an primer, a visual repertoire for current and future generations of artists.
Claire Heggen is author, director, actress, artistic director of the company Claire Heggen - Theatre of Movement and teacher in the fields of puppetry and mime and gesture arts. For 35 years, she has been working on the relationship between body, object, puppet and materials. Influenced by artists and thinkers from multiple disciplines, ranging from body mime to puppet, anatomy, body philosophy, performing arts research, it broadcasts its shows and teaches both in France and abroad, in arts schools, at universities, on the occasion of professional meetings.
With her research on the theatricality of movement and the body/object relationship, Claire Heggen inaugurates a new field of research in the field of puppetry arts. Its purpose is to list and put into play the main processes of animation of a manipulated object, in relation to the body of the artist. She thus elaborates a primer both written and visual, which brings together about 90 notions, concepts, definitions, accompanied by video vignettes illustrating each of the terms. This inventory work is presented in a "lively conference" entitled The animated inventory. During this lively and playful presentation, Claire Heggen is accompanied by two puppeteers, Philippe Rodriguez-Jorda and Christophe Hanon, and a musician-dancer, Elsa Marquet-Lienhart. Through this census work, it is not only a matter of distinguishing, clarifying and naming what is at stake, inventing training protocols for artists, but also of proposing a grammar of the movement that can feed other scenic disciplines, the arts of mime and gesture, the circus, dance…
According to Heggen, research in the arts must both advance knowledge and provoke a renewal of aesthetics, while taking into account repertoires and artistic legacies. In her work she is particularly motivated by a desire to know and learn, she seeks to upset the representations established on the body and its setting in motion, but also to transmit. In 2015, she was awarded the Prize for Transmission by the International Puppetry Institute.
His work today allows him to perform, work and teach with professionals from various disciplines in many countries. However, the transversal nature of his practice remains difficult to make visible, in a context where the separations between disciplines remain very significant.
Claire Heggen develops her work in such a way that it is transmitted to all types of audiences, professional or amateur. In this sense, she would like her “hectic conference” The animated inventory spread as widely as possible.
In 2020, the call for projects Research in Theatre and Associated Arts supported several research projects carried out in higher education institutions of the performing arts, such as the project The Circus Artist in Training (LACE). Led by Karine Saroh and Aurélie Vincq at Ésacto'Lido, this study focuses on the training conditions of professional artists, its governance methods, its social dynamics and the impact of the Covid-19 health crisis.
The École supérieure des arts du cirque Toulouse Occitanie (Ésacto'Lido) is a higher education institution for circus arts, accredited since 2019 by the Ministry of Culture. In recent years, the school has been structured around an increased emphasis on research programs, led by Karine Saroh, Research and Development Officer and Aurélie Vincq, General Secretary of the school.
If training is essential and essential, both for the maintenance of artistic skills or the prevention of injuries, as for the sociability of artists and their professional integration, it remains little valued, both at the institutional level and on the part of the general public. While the territory of Toulouse is particularly well equipped with training spaces, the aim of the program was to understand how artists at the national level organize themselves to train regularly and under adequate conditions. The research was thus built around four axes of work: the territories of training, its significance in the context of circus arts; the place of training as a space of socialization for circassians; spaces dedicated to the training of artists and their modes of governance; the health crisis and its impact on artists' practices.
Conducted in close collaboration with Émilie Salamero, lecturer in sociology at the University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse and Nina Peix-Vives, a STAPS master student, this research was built around a multidisciplinary approach, involving representatives of the profession, training and training structures, artists and collectives. For Karine Saroh and Aurélie Vincq, research in art schools must indeed create links between the academic world and the artistic sector, and be aimed at all audiences.
One call for specific projects to support research in performing arts higher education institutions has been set up since 2021 by the Ministry of Culture - Direction générale de la création artistique.
Questioning artistic practices, encouraging exchanges between different disciplines. In a context where it remains difficult for artists to arrange research time outside of creative imperatives, L'Instant mobile has created the “LaboMobiles”, temporary and itinerant research residencies with the aim of generating ideas for the creation of tomorrow.
The “LaboMobile” is a nomadic research space, open to all professionals in the creative world, from both artistic and technical professions. According to the principle of plateau research, this "laboratory" brings together a dozen participants, registered via a call for applications. For a few days or weeks, each and every member of the collective thus created appropriates the space of the place of creation that welcomes them, to bring cross-viewpoints and lead their reflections on a theme defined prior to each working session.
This device is created by the artist, technician and co-founder of the company L'Instant mobile, Arnaud Chevalier, in association with Hugo Montero, anthropologist and filmmaker. The first edition took place over three days in 2018 at the Théâtre de l'Élysée in Lyon on the theme of “identities”. A second edition took place in 2019 at the Lavoir Public in Lyon on “walking in the city”. A third edition of the CUBE – Studio Théâtre du Hérisson and Vitry’s Studio-Théâtre focused on the theme of “know-how”. The fourth edition on the theme of “sensitive” was held in January and February 2021 at the Espace Scénique Transdisciplinaire of the University of Grenoble Alpes and the Subs of Lyon.
Each edition of the laboratory is an opportunity to reflect on a new form of research development and sharing. Over the course of the editions, "contributions" were put in place, a way for participants to document and share the work carried out during the laboratory, in a free format. A digital platform bringing together all of these contributions is being developed, with the aim of giving greater visibility to the scheme and its repercussions.
For Hugo Montero and Arnaud Chevalier, the goal of research in the arts is to provoke a meeting between people on the one hand, and disciplines and know-how on the other, in a space and a temporality totally distinct from other realities of the artistic world.
If their work was aimed more at artists than at technicians, the next editions of “Labomobiles”, which will take place in January and February 2023 at RAMDAM, an art centre and the Cube of the La Belle Meunière company. This next edition will be the subject of a session of sharing experience and exchange with audiences of the theatre Hexagon of Meylan National Scene Art and Science.
Real ' curious fool », Renaud Robert has always given a central place to historical and sociological research in his work as a puppeteer and director. The director of the company EFFIGIE(s) THÉÂTRE is currently conducting research on the Temporal family, a dynasty of puppeteers with whom he has a very special relationship.
Convinced that there is no chance » but only of the « appointment », Renaud Robert has continued to meet the Temporal during his career as an artist and researcher.
Born in the cauldron of the puppet » in Charleville-Mézières, he grew up with the book How to build and animate our puppets of Marcel Temporal. As a teenager, he joined Les Petits Comédiens de Chiffons and had the opportunity to meet Jean-Loup Temporal, Marcel’s son, several times. In the 1980s, when he founded his own troupe in Meung-sur-Loire, he met the third generation of the family in the person of Dominique Temporal, also a puppeteer. In 2016, he incidentally discovered new puppets of the Temporal in the reserves of a castle. The happiness of this discovery quickly turned into a profound need to seek to save, study and make known the heritage of this great family of puppeteers.
It is with passion that Renaud Robert embarks on this investigation which plunges him into the family archives, including puppets, drawings, texts and other unpublished documents. He discovered the pioneering character of the work of these artists and the historical importance of their works and reflections for the puppetry arts. His research also led him to the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Mucem and the Musée des Arts de la Marionnette. He forged links between the updated documents. He designed an exhibition with stage designer Serge Dubuc entitled Upper Arms! Temporal and their puppets » which is presented for the first time at the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières in 2019.
For Renaud Robert, the Temporal’s innovative work is alive and well. It must be as accessible to the curiosity of the general public as it must be a source of inspiration for today’s puppeteers. He is also currently working on putting all of his resources online on the Portal of Puppetry Arts of the International Puppetry Institute. He would also dream of being able to trace the course of the Temporal dynasty in a work.
A fourth edition of his exhibition, bringing together new puppets, models and photographs discovered very recently by Renaud Robert, was presented from October 4 to 15, 2022 in Vendôme, on the occasion of the opening of the National Puppetry Centre.