"… as long as money is not part of our game, pleasure is at the core. The pure pleasure of being generous with someone else, makes you feel good.It’s a very banal thing to say, but it's a definitive truth we shouldn't avoid."
Vincent Moon, a rather nomad and free French filmmaker, shares his insights and experiences on the way in which he has gone around the world walking urban spaces with bizarre musicians to “re-sublimate our everyday lives”. An interview by Andrea Mendoza.
DESIS: If one is to say that your work fits into the "art of free making", do you consider that such Free is pertinent for the emotional and social economy of our times?
V.M.: More than ever. We can witness a lot of similar approaches nowadays amongst young creative people anywhere in the world - and anyway, the structures we are now using, the Internet at the core, are based on such a direct, free approach. What do the technology says? it’s a question that we don't answer enough. Technology now reached a point where we end up having a strong link to ancient cultures, older forms of societies. Nothing is centralized (or nothing should be, but that is another question), as it was before the industrial revolution lets say. People were living on a very direct, exchanged based economy. Money was a very limited aspect of it in fact, as the idea of sharing things against other things were very common - and, still very common in many parts of the world.
I inscribe myself in the same wave, of course, as i don't make things 'for free', but i make things without money involved. Which means that people give me back, but not in terms of monetary aspects as i am not interested in this. They give me back by offering me a place to stay, some food to eat, or some love to warms me. They give some of their time to help me on this or that project.
And more than anything, as long as money is not part of our game, pleasure is at the core. the pure pleasure of being generous with someone else, makes you feel good. Its a very banal thing to say, but it's a definitive truth we shouldn't avoid.
To conclude on those brief thoughts, i think that such approach nowadays, all around the world, of people making things 'for free', not collaborating with a type of society we disagree with, shows a way, and definitely opens some possibilities in the mind of lots of other people. It might not end in a new form of society, but in miriads of variations, of sometimes temporary areas, of sometimes more permanent zones of exchanges. Rebuilding communities, various type of communities, different ways of approaching the world, not only one type which would lead to the same dramatic situation most of the world is facing now. I am very optimistic, there is no other way to be.
DESIS: How is the approaching process to the groups that you record?
V.M.: It always varies. As I don't plan things in advance (I always end up in a place without knowing too much, and just search on the spot), it is often a very direct communication, going to the creative people themselves, and not dealing with any managers or anything like that. Although, in the places i visited recently (Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, Italy, Indonesia...) dealing with such people in the 'music industry' is not as a painful as it is in the USA for example. It is much more naive and the manager is definitely here to help the agenda of the musicians, and not to act as a barrier between you and them.
Also, I never sign contracts. I refuse, I always say no to it. All my work is based on trust, if someone wants me to sign a piece of paper to make a film, I don’t think this person trust me enough, so it will be the end. And all my work is under Creative Commons, and nobody gives me a “…” about it. I am doing what I want, I don't want anybody to tell me what to do.
DESIS: Which is the "social" impact that you think, your work brings to the streets in the moment that you record and after-wards when the material is available on the net?
V.M.: There is of course those two various moments of time. For me, to make a film is just a way to gather energies together in a temporary space. During this period of time, all the rules are different. We decide of the game we want to play, it is the game of life, and it’s very liberating. We can follow some other types of instincts, and in that period of time, always quite short, we might learn a lot about ourselves.
And I like that those moments are just here for a little while, then disappear. I love this quote from Guy Debord: "everything which maintains something plays the game of the police"
But in the meantime, a film is a 'temporary gathering, which lasts - this one is from me. Which means, that such actions will generate something in us, for later. The film is a trace of an action, nothing else, for the participants.
The 2nd aspect, is for the people who were not there. And on this point, I refer to Stiegler's talk on the 'necessary re-sublimation of our everyday life'
Basically, a film should never only be a testimony of an action, but a whole re-interpretation of reality, putting things higher. Using the pure language of cinema to relaunch us in the term of our contemplation of the world.
'I learned to see the world by making films'
It's really about giving viewers, later in the process then, a window into a certain world, which probably never existed in an objective way, but was completely there in my own subjective approach. Bringing them with me, with us, into this 're-sublimation' of our everyday life.
DESIS: Do you think that the petites planètescollection could fit into what is considered nowadays as: "social innovation"?
I am not much interested in fitting into any kind of genre. To label something is a way to deprive people from their freedom. Even if not made in such a way, to put names on actions, on energies, on images and sounds, have an obvious effect of limiting its resonance. Media people would tell you the contrary, that it’s a better way to 'sell' your work, to put it into a direction so people are not lost. But it’s exactly the contrary that happens.
I remember my experience in front of some of my favourite films those past years. It was always very strongly linked to this impossibility of describing them with words to friends after. Ideally, a film is something you can't comment or talk about with words. It is its own medium, its own language.
DESIS: Which is the role of creativity, according to your view, in the discourse of social innovation and sustainability?
V.M.: Well, its a vast question. Creativity always had a leading role in how the world is shaped. 'Artists', even if I don’t like to use the word, are the avant-garde of their society. They open possibilities, envision changes and try to test them on the ground.
DESIS: Which, would you say, is the common thread among all the bands and artists that you have recorded?
V.M.: No common thread ;) I have been travelling to so many places, and met so many different people, that i am happy I couldn’t notice a common thread thru all of them. There is an incredible amount of disparities, of differences. Some people say 'the world is beautiful, we are all the same', some other say 'the world is beautiful, we are all different from each other'. You understand in which opinion I fit in...
DESIS: Where is your work/project moving towards?
VM.: Travelling. Making films is a way to put yourself in a place where you wouldn't be usually. Discovering a place by taking the camera (as an excuse) and use it as a tool to interact. This is where I am I guess. I want to discover the world and its many cultures, and I found the way to do it through those little films I make. I want to continue in such a direction, you grow every time from such experiences.
And I guess in general, those researches are made with a conscious feeling of where is the society, the western one, the eastern one, the southern one and so on. How they interact with each other, how they eat themselves, which influences are made on what. And trying to get ideas for another type of society, which is already burgeoning in many places on this little planet.
Thank You Vincent!