Artists: Gaillard & Claude
Exhibition title: Early Development Of Calculus
Venue: Etablissement d’en face, Brussels, Belgium
Date: February 20 – April 10, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Etablissement d’en face
Tootle-too : There are days when I want to go solo. I can’t stand them anymore.
Toot : Yeah, I know what you mean….
Tootle-too : There is such a routine, such a sense of endless repetition, such a vacuity. Look at them queuing at the coffee machine during the breaks, packing outside in the cold to smoke their pipes, sharing the same jokes, the same sardonic remarks about life… And the way they dress… it’s fucking painful.
Toot : Same for me…. I’d never imagined being with the orchestra would be like working in an office, a factory or an infrastructure. I thought it would be something grand, something sublime, beautiful, different, wild, extreme and passionate, charged with erotic power, every minute of life so sexy and …
Tootle-too (cutting Toot short) : Calm down.
Oompah and Tom-tom (arriving from the outside with a coarse smell of tobacco exhaling from their mouthpieces, excited) : Hey guys !!! Guys, guys, listen to this one, listen. It’s the story of a flute and she meets a bassoon and the bassoon goes : “wow you have a…”
Tootle-too and Toot (cutting Oompah and Tom-tom short, in chorus, very dryly) : Yes we know that joke, thank you.
Oompah : What’s wrong with you, have you lost your sense of yodel ?
Tootle-too : We’re fed-up, man, we want to get the fuck out of here and go solo, put our artistic genius out there, shine and rise.
Tom-tom : Can you be more specific? Because it sounds like a fucking bourgeois fantasy to me.
Tootle-too and Toot : …
Tom-tom : I mean, have you forgotten why we decided to join the orchestra in the first place ? Don’t you remember what we were standing for, and even more so, what we rejected? And don’t you see what’s going on outside in the world, how fucking worse and worse everything has been going through the years, how meaningless, how moronic this shitty commercial system is? You should be proud of your engagement, you should embrace the beauty of your political choice…. And instead here you are, whining and lamenting like a pair of sad whistles.
Oompah : And… and… and there is the security. It’s important. I mean you are protected by the union, you have a paycheck at the end of each month, you have 5 weeks of holiday per year, your health expenses are taken care of for you and your partner…
Toot : My partner left … with an electric guitar.
Tootle-too, Ooompah, Tom-tom (in chorus) : Ouch !!!
Toot : I know… I thought being blown was the only thing that made it come…
Tom-tom : OK, it sucks, but that is no reason for dismissing our struggle.
Oompah (all of sudden very melancholic) : Our struggle… Does it still make sense ? You know… I have never told anyone in the orchestra, but my partner left too. It’s with a music software now.
Tom-tom, Tootle-too, Toot (in a chorus, very loud) : OH NO !!!!!!!!! OMG !!! How fucking horrible !!! How dreadful !!!
Toot : How is this software called ?
Oompah (totally depressed, very low) : Oh man, it’s got the most stupid and pretentious name, something halfway between a Roman emperor’s and a Finish musician’s name. I don’t even want to play it for you. It would hurt your finger holes as much as it hurts mine, believe me.
Tom-tom : Well… that’s what you get when you embrace such conservative institutions like the couple, the family and all this bullshit. How often did I repeat that it is not compatible with our collective project…
Toot (high-pitched) : Damp it Tom-tom !! You may be right, but I mean… a music software… that’s fucking nuts. It’s like, it’s like …
Oompah (loud and trembling) : It’s like a total denial of our ideology of production, of everything we’ve been working on for the past decades. It’s a miserable NEO-LIBERAL, LAZY, VULGAR move.
Toot : It’s pathetic.
Oompah : Besides…. you will agree that of all our partners mine was the most committed to the cause, the most selfless, the most enthusiastic. Remember all the things it did to support the orchestra…
Tom-tom (cynical) : You mean like blowing the entire orchestra ?
Oompah (very low now) : And so what ? Is this sensuous generosity not sufficiently anti-bourgeois for you ? Didn’t you take advantage of it ?
Tom-tom : …
Tootle-too : Hum, well, ahem… I’ve got something to confess…
Oompah : You’ve been dumped too ?
Tootle-too : No, quite the opposite.
Oompah : ??
Tootle-too (very low) : I’ve been cheating on my partner.
Oompah : Since when ?
Tootle-too : It’s been a while.
Toot : With whom ?
Tootle-too : …
Toot : Oh come on, being mute is not going to help you. You either fully confess or you don’t.
Tootle-too : …
Oompah : It’s too late now… You’ve shared too much already.
Tootle-too (whispering) : With a composition software.
Oompah, Toot (completely silent) : ????????????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ?????????????
Tom-tom (martial beat) : I KNEW IT! GODDAM IT! Your stupid dreams of personal success, your complaints… I understand where it comes from. We need to let the rest of the orchestra know about this, and we will decide collectively if you can still be a part of us. We will vote. I will organize a meeting, as soon as possible. See you at the meeting, we will all be here ! And you’d better prepare your defense, because my bet is that there won’t be many of us to support you. I am leaving, I can’t stay in this room with you any longer.
Tootle-too : …
Tom-tom (leaving the room) : Traitor ! Bitch ! Petty recorder !
Oompah : How does it feel ? I mean… You know… Does it give you a great deal of pleasure
Tootle-too (whispering) : Yes.
Oompah : Really ?
Tootle-too : Well… it is capable of such an array of positions, figures, sounds, it is incredible. There seems to be no limits to what it can compose, it is endless. And for someone like me, who is feeling nauseous at the contemplation of life’s repetitive pattern, it is a real shock therapy. I hope you understand…
Toot : Oh dear…
Tootle-too : But there’s something else.
Oompah and Toot (in chorus) : What ?
Tootle-too : It wants to collaborate with the orchestra.
Oompah and Toot (in chorus, high-pitched) : I beg your pardon ???
Tootle-too : I think we should consider it. It could help us take a new direction. It would be a new start, a total artistic renewal, a rejuvenation. It would reconcile us with music. And it would bring us some media attention. Imagine the headlines : “Unprecedented collaboration between orchestra and composition software”; “The unlimited orchestra”; “Together they played. Together they composed”…
Oompah : You must be joking…
Tootle-too : Aren’t you fed-up with playing the same compositions over and over? With being the same structure, the same limited number of instruments?
Oompah : Yes, but we have something that a software hasn’t.
Tootle-too : Oh, please… Don’t bullshit me with your authenticity, your emotion and I don’t know what else.
Oompah : That’s not what I am talking about.
Tootle-too : OK. Make your point then.
Oompah : I was thinking about feelings like boredom, weariness…
Toot : …depression…
Oompah : …spleen…
Tootle-too : Is it really what you are in this orchestra for ?
Oompah : Well… yeah… I mean, I think so.
Tootle-too : To be depressed ?
Oompah : Yes.
Tootle-too : What about you, Toot ?
Toot : Well, all things well considered, I have to admit I wouldn’t like to be happy and excited at all times. I like the repetition of the same, the everyday dullness of the practice…
Tootle-too : So a few minutes ago when you were complaining, you were complaining just for the sake of it ?
Toot : Not exactly… I feel really unhappy. But complaining gives me some kind of special satisfaction, a particular form of pleasure. I can’t really explain, but depression is something I need, deep inside. And I am not sure if this can change or not, I mean I don’t see what could…
Tom-tom’s sound, coming from the other room, cuts Toot short : The break is over. Time to get back to where we stopped. Please take your positions.
Toot, Tootle-too, Oompah (in a chorus, quite flat) : Coming!
By Lili Reynaud Dewar