de bouche à oreille
a poetical multilingual Chinese whispers game
de bouche à oreille is a project on sharing poems between people who speak different languages. The action happens between two people who do not have a knowledge of each other’s language. The action is as follows: person A whispers in the ear of person B a poem, or a song, or a prayer, any text that s/he knows by heart and person B simply repeats the sounds the s/he manages to grasp. Then the roles can swap and person B can whisper into Person A’s ear, however this depends on the linguistic knowledge of each participant. The performance lasts between 3 and 4 hours.
A poetic action created by three agents: the two participants and the poem or text exchanged between them. The device proposed in this performance proposes a tangible expression of the etymological meaning of the word poetry - poiesis - from the Greek poiein: to create. The interaction between the two participants is itself a poetic action that creates a poetic image that comes alive through the relationship that exists and is then created between people. This poetic image is given first and foremost by the intimacy of the action of getting close to someone and whispering in their ear. This childish act generates a certain number of reactions in the listener, all of which are visible on his face: attention, doubt, fear, laughter.
The originality of the physical responses people have when listening to a foreign and unknown language is a key element of this project. Indeed, if at the beginning there is a feeling of loss and anxiety for fear of not understanding, finally, in the short duration of the exchange, a relationship of trust is built between the two. Trust replaces understanding, and that is the guiding idea of this project.