21st Century Rituals According to (la)horde

Name: (la)horde

Title: CULTS

Year: 2017

Film Programme: URGENT: Social Shorts 1

Cults is a visual and sonic experience in the bowels of a jubilant crowd.

(la)horde is a french collective from Paris consisting of three artists: Marine Brutti, Jonathan Debrouwer and Arthur Harel. The collective develop their practice through stage productions, filmmaking, video installation, choreographic and performative installation. They operate within the field of post-internet dance.

The collective is unstoppable and always working on new ideas and productions. Nonetheless, they took time to sit with us for a chat.

What was your starting point for CULTS?

In this film, we wanted to capture the concrete manifestation of worship (in French the word “culte” can either mean “iconic” or “cult” as in worship) which is translated into ritualised practices and performances, mass jubilation and a consumerist mass. In a world dominated by the fetish of commodity, is it still possible to have a spiritual experience in these consumerist sanctuaries? Does the individual succeed in creating its own subversive experience?

What were the main implications when working on this production?

The film was shot during a real festival, les Eurockéennes, which has about 40.000 visitors. We worked with five main dancers who had to play with their environment and adapt the choreographies we created. They were also the starters and initiators of mass movements. Of course, it didn’t work a hundred per cent of the time. But in the film, you can see a wall of death and some mosh pits which the dancers started by engaging their bodies in this environment and by having people following their lead. 
The weather conditions were intense too, and we really lived at the festival rhythm during the whole shoot. 

What is the central theme of your film and how did you develop it?

In 1967, nearly 100,000 young people spontaneously swept into San Francisco to change their lives, and try to dust off the old world. It’s the “Summer of Love”. Two years later, in 1969: Woodstock – the first mass gathering related to music – was set up. Festivals were born. This rally, today designated as the tipping point of counter-culture and pacifist anti-capitalism, was quickly overtaken by the system in which it was born, that system it was criticising: eventually the organisers had to resell the rights to the Warner to settle their debts.

At the same time, the hippie movement itself, which criticised the consumerist society, was quickly overtaken when its aesthetic was directly used in a Coca-Cola add in 1971, where young hippies from around the world sang its harmony drinking the soda. We use the exact same song from this advertising campaign at the end of our film to express the doubt that remains on the tight bonds between the form of the festival and its commercial design. 50 years later, the situation has become alienated and the idea of festivals as a genuine culture springing spontaneously from the masses has rather become the ultimate form of the cultural industry, that of the masses, which consumes it passively.

We chose to use many different formats to explore how the festive body, its exaltation and its celebration became the ultimate bulwark for mass consumption. And whether its states of celebration and dancing succeed in transcending the uncritical space in which it develops.
The movie starts with Alexa LF shots, to really explore the presence of our characters in a very constructed and cinematic way. Then we have some iPhone shots, to show reality, as raw as it is, in a non-magnified way. Then we get Super16, which was a way for us to explore the history of festivals starting with Woodstock. And finally, the biggest pleasure was to shoot a crowd with a Phantom Camera. As we scanned the crowd with our cameras, we captured this gigantic gathering of 40.000 people as a form of grace. Unexpected suspended moments make the film oscillate between disenchanted paganism and animal spirituality. Between vice and grace. Jubilation and anxiety. Ecstasy and descent. Disenchantment and light.

Where do you see the dance film field in the future? What are your aspirations and wishes for its development?

In this 2.0 internet era, we experience a representation of the body like never before. We believe that dance and any physical engagement have found shelter on the internet. This natural use of the video – to share moves on social platforms like Instagram, youtube, or Facebook – have led to the development of new writings. Writings of choreography for the video frame. Now that there are so many authentic, homemade videos we see the virality of challenges like ‘the mannequin challenge’, the ‘Harlem Shake’ or ‘Fortnite Dance’, it pushes us, as directors and choreographers to further develop our reflection on dance and to explore what it says about the social development of our world. And how it can still be the place revolution.

Don’t miss their latest film Cults and all the other incredible shorts in our programme URGENT: Social Shorts on Saturday 9 March. See you at Eye.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *