Dominique Peysson and Olivier Goulet
Performance. 20 mins

"Life is a vapor, a light mist that wets the palm of the hand, and then nothing.",
Jaime Garcia Terres, "That One Was King"

Supported by the research program "Vocality in theater and opera" of the Iris "Creation, Cognition and Society" (EHESS) carried by PSL, for the four performances of Kein Licht at the Favart hall in Paris, from October 19 to 22, 2017.


Life is a vapor… and then nothing is vanity.

The performance begins with a tea ceremony. The hot drink is offered to the public, even as the two artists drink their own cup. Both then enter a large transparent block, which they close behind them. The public can see them through the window performing a very simple form of dance modeled on butoh. Everyday gestures are evoked there, very slowly at first, then more and more quickly. Until the bodies at work exhale enough water vapor to cover the windows with fog, partially masking the bodies to let only the deformed silhouettes of the two performers show through.

The communion between the artists and the public is facilitated by the sensation of warmth that everyone can feel while drinking their cup of hot tea: it spreads in everyone's bodies, as in those of the performers. The breath of life fills the air with a vapor that the artists will show us, the better to disappear. It is through the bodies that the circulation of water takes place, up to the surface of the cabin. Our inner warmth, our breath, our movements, are the signs that we are very much alive. Our materiality is expressed by the body which exhales this water. But in doing so, it veils the image of the bodies, leaving only ghostly silhouettes to appear... The water hides them from everyone's view. And then nothing.

Besides, doesn't the Hebrew term “vanity” mean “steam, mist, breath, light breath”?

Extract. 5mn57s

Full video of the whole performance. 17mn51s


The two artists Dominique Peysson and Olivier Goulet presented for the first time Life is a vapor… and then nothing at the Opéra Comique before the show, for performances of Kein Licht. Also exhibited were two installations by Dominique Peysson, Traffic 3.0 and Study of radioactive clouds, accompanied by a series of mini-scientific conferences and citizen debates.

“The “pre-shows” which precede the moment of music constitute a particular space-time where the public is just as inhabited by desire and expectation as by questions to be asked. So much so that we often nourish this time apart from an excess of material to think about the work in its historical, musical, philosophical context. »
Karine LeBail

Kein Licht, Comic Opera.