[June 10 2020]
Jean-Luc Godard’s longtime sound engineer, Francois Musy and I drove for 10 hours, from Switzerland, where Godard lives, to Cantal, in France, where the warehouse with his archive is. The idea was to create a sound composition from the recordings in the archive for Deutschlandradio and Radio France Culture. Once in the warehouse, in front of that endless series of boxes full of books, tapes, notes, cut-outs, the full map of his thinking, I felt that all this fragmented material will be the genesis of our sound composition. This is how the idea of What We Leave Behind came about. Sound is its own entity and should be used this way. Each sound has its own value, its own color. The sound of wind rippling through the leaves, a far-off airplane covering a voice, a ringing telephone, a slamming door. Listening to the tapes in Godard’s archive, you could feel this. Some had to be played back on a Studer J37s, the same tape recorder used on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Many were full of fragments that didn’t make the final cut, that were never meant to be heard and that now, through this new sound composition, were resurrected. The edits and cuts, the microphone checks, before and after every clap, everything that was left behind, was now a reflection, rather than an omission. They speak to the passing of time. They are timestamps. The question is, when do we stop, when is a story finished, when do we need to stop? In one of the boxes I found some pages of Paul Klee that Godard has underlined in red: “Art plays an unknowing game with the ultimate things and yet reaches them nonetheless! Art does not give the visible but, instead, makes visible”.
-Stephan Crasneanscki, 2018
Photo and video by Stephan Crasneanscki
Editing by Greg Pedat