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How to say ‘longing’

How to say ‘longing’ was initiated at the Acts of Listening Lab as part of the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University in Montreal. We propose to develop this research-creation within the framework of a residency. A performance open to the public will be held there in April 2023.

Photographer: Ilayda Welschinger

Jad Orphée Chami (he/him)

is a Lebanese-Canadian artist-researcher, composer and performer born in Beirut and living in Montreal. He notably composed the original music for the feature film Antigone by Sophie Deraspe, which represented Canada at the 92nd Academy Awards. He was nominated at the age of 21 for the Iris prize for best original music at the 22nd Gala Québec Cinéma, notably alongside Jean-Michel Blais and Howard Shore. After having provided the soundtracks for more than fifteen short films and three web series, he composed his second film score in 2023 in collaboration with director Eli Jean Tahchi for the documentary Dorchester: In the Midst of the Fray, produced by Jonah Mallak (Nemesis Films).

In addition to his music work for the image, he composes and designs works for the contemporary scene, notably for the École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal and for the Acts of Listening Lab in collaboration with the Center for Restorative Justice. He explores through research-creation the dialogue between music and oral history. In 2022, he is part of a trio of artists commissioned by the MAI for the realization of the work Justement (en)raciner on the theme of Justice, among others alongside Kimura Byol-Lemoine, Angelina Guo and Moe Clark. The same year, he presented with Noël Vézina the performance How to say ‘longing’, mixing dance-theatre, music and new technologies, at the RIPA performance evening. The testimonies of the disappeared from Lebanon are central to his approach. He is affiliated with the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and is developing his oral history performance Rhapsody for the disappeared.

He is also interested in contemporary issues of art and presents conferences on themes such as the question of the author, the ethics of research-creation and gender and sexuality in music history.

Photographer: Jules Nerestant

Noël Vezina (she/her)

is a queer, interdisciplinary, dance and movement artist based in Montreal (Tiohtiá:ke / Mooniyang). Largely self-taught, her process is highly intuitive and organic. Approaching performance as a tool to connect deeply, to herself and to others, her work often takes on ephemeral and intimate forms.

Noël’s latest accomplishments include: presenting Stardust and Parallax with Festival Quartiers Danses (2021), sharing a first version of a cloud, a distance (September 2020), creating We live together now - a video performance presented by Sanskar Festival (August 2020) and Festival Bouge D'ici (March 2021), performing 05062020live via Zoom for National AccessAbility Week with the DisAbled Women's Network of Canada (June 2020), and her ongoing collaboration with A Safe Space, initiated by Nicholas Bellefleur in 2019. In February 2020 she hosted the first of many editions of 5x8/6 - a free-from experimental performance evening that takes place in her kitchen - where she premiered Soft Warm Light (an autobiographical solo piece in progress).

Noël is one sixth of the winning team of the 2021 Dansathon in Liège, recognized for their imagining of ‘the future of dance’ through a new interactive performance experience The

Living Room. They will continue questioning the place of technology in promoting embodiment soon, with the support of the Maison de la Danse de Lyon, Sadler’s Wells and the Théâtre de Liège.

Noël strives to be radically soft, honest and vulnerable. She values not-knowing and never perfecting. To be kind and loving is essential.

How to say 'longing'

is the result of experiments that Jad Orphée Chami (composer) and Noël Vézina (movement artist) have carried out, and still carry out, on the themes of intimacy. This intimacy revolves around the dualities of music-movement, composition-improvisation, but also around the differences between the said and the unsaid. New technologies are trying to sew our stories together and are opening doors to our approaches and our respective practices. Anchored in softness, slowness and ambiguity, How to say 'longing' is intended to be an intimately shared encounter.

The performance offers an ambiguous space-time of relaxation. Armed with a chain of touch-sensitive sensors, the two performers delicately improvise a digital soundscape while exploring physical proximity and intimacy. These sensors have the function of a MIDI music controller, called “TouchMe”. Indeed, the music fluctuates between low and high notes depending on the physical interaction between the two performers and the pressure exerted on the body of one and the other. This interaction creates a dialogue between two inner sounds.

In this performance, we tame the technological installation (the encapsulated digital soundscape, the alternative reality offered by the video transmission, and the connection through the chain of sensors) as a support for a human vulnerability that the two performers testify.

Photographer: Davis Hepnar

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Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling and Acts of Listening Lab
Concordia University
1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W. 
Montreal, QC
H3G 1M8

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