Curated by Frédéric Acquaviva
In 1950, after meeting Isidore Isou and joining the Lettrist movement, Gil J Wolman invented the notion of mégapneumie, poems of breath and pure sound. Although his seminal sound work has been largely overlooked, it was a precursor of sound poetry and is one of the key elements of Lettrist poetry. This radio show reconstructs the link between Lettrism, sound poetry, and the work of some isolated but fundamental figures, so as to recover a piece of sound art history.
Lettrism launched its first manifesto in Paris in 1946, through the voice of its creator and main theorist Isidore Isou. It proposed and systematised a fusion between poetry and music and incorporated body sounds written down with the help of a new alphabet, and also introduced innovations in the visual arts field with hypergraphy. Isou (1925-2007) and his first partner in creation, Gabriel Pomerand (1926-1972), were joined by François Dufrêne (1930-1982), Jean-Louis Brau (1930-1985), Gil J Wolman (1929-1995) and Maurice Lemaître (1926), and later by Jacques Spacagna (1936-1990), Roberto Altmann (1942) Roland Sabatier (1942) and Broutin (1948), amongst others. In 1950, Gil J Wolman invented mégapneumie, or breath poetry, and just two years later, in 1953, François Dufrêne bought a tape recorder and used it to compose his crirythmes, which were performed publicly for the first time in October 1955. This experiment cleared the way for more intensive use of this expressive tool, and in 1959, sound poetry was born with the diverse voices of Henri Chopin (1922-2008) and Bernard Heidsieck (1928), and even Brion Gysin (1916-1986).
This show also includes the voices of some solitary figures such as Ghérasim Luca (1913-1994), who marked the end of surrealism and contributed to the emergence of a repetetive-interpretative poetry; Altagor (1915-1982) and his metapoetry; Otto Muehl (1925), who could be one of the bastard children of mégapneumes (at least in his sound work dating from 1968), and the voice and words of Pierre Guyotat (1940), which can be heard in one of Frédéric Acquaviva's musical compositions.