Barras / Demierre: 'interpreting bardem interpreting'

  • The Poetry Foundation 61 West Superior Street Chicago, IL, 60654 United States

FREE | Seating is limited

The duo Vincent Barras and Jacques Demierre extends an experimental tradition of sound and poetry at the boundaries of established categories such as literature, scenic arts, and music.

Their new piece, interpreting bardem interpreting, follows in the tracks of this long-term work on the origins of speech. It includes, besides the duo, the participation of several simultaneous interpreters. Its starting point is the sound material recorded during the shooting of the documentary Voicing through Saussure by Véronique Goël (2009), in which the duo, while enacting speech as sound through concrete vocal and articulatory experiments, discusses in conversation the compositional and poetic procedures they employ. Sound design and engineering by Thierry Simonot.

The translators for interpreting bardem interpreting at the Poetry Foundation are:

Hamid Ghezali - Arabic or Berber

Tamsyn Soliai - Afrikaans

Mihai Bledea - Romanian

Laura Padilla - Catalan

Jacques Demierre and Vincent Barras are visiting artists-in-residence at the Department of Sound at the School of the Art Institute Chicago.

Attendance is on a  first come, first served and capacity is limited. Late admittance at the discretion of the staff of the Poetry Foundation.


Jacques Demierre is a pianist, composer and improviser. Whether acoustic or electroacoustic, respectful of the frames of traditional writing or freely improvised, his experimentations can be music just as well as sound poetry and sound interventions in situ. They are nonetheless all moved by the same search for awareness of sound. Author of numerous pieces for ensemble or voice, the pianist Demierre also readily explores the evocative force of the most quotidian noises. While expanding the sound possibilities offered by the piano instrument, Jacques Demierre explores ways in which it approaches the field of language. His critical reflection develops a highly transversal and “interdisciplinary” conception of music, which has brought him to work with a number of musicians from very diverse backgrounds. Jacques Demierre is the 2007 laureate of the Ville de Genève Music Award, awarded once every four years. His scores are available from SME/EMS. His work is published by Tzadik, Héros-Limite, Psi, Victo, jazzwerkstatt, Leo, Plainisphare, Creative Sources, INSUB., Intakt, Bocian Records, bardem, Unit Record, stv/ams.


Vincent Barras teaches history of medicine and science at the University of Lausanne, while also being a specialist of sound art, experimental literature and sound poetry, which he practices as author, performer and program director (Festival de la Bâtie, from 1985 to 2003; Association Roaratorio since 2003). He also contributes as translator to make known and to disseminate certain majorworks representing diverse trends in contemporary poetry, music and literature: co-founder, together with Philippe Albèra and Jacques Demierre, of the Editions Contrechamps, he has published with the printing press and publishing house Héros-Limite a French version of John Cage’s Silence; a volume by the inventor of concrete poetry Eugen Gomringer; an anthology under the title 1 2 3 by the American poet and thinker Robert Lax; and a volume of poems – Journal de bord – by the Greek poet Georges Seferis.