A universal man by the heart, and a modest man, whose personality had, by his nonconformity, a unique and almost symbolic character.
A few months before his death, he told me he had made a thrilling experience, demonstrating (in scholar terms, according to the words of the writer Édouard Glissant) the two-sided character of an archipelago listening
"To put one's ear against a shell, is like hearing a whole ocean. Colored noise ebbs and flows in endless waves enclosed in a nacreous and narrow space. Yet, you hear an outdoor sound, an open space. The ear takes the listener away. The sea feeling demonstrates the tangibility of a sound trapped in a conch. Through the shell, you do hear the sound of the sea. Even so, such listening does not disclose an ocean sound. Instead, it reveals territories scattered over the ocean, archipelago territories.
" in François J. Bonnet, Les mots et les sons, un archipel sonore
, Éditions de l’éclat, Paris 2012
So Pierre told me:
"Some time ago, I brought with me a small PCM-D50 recorder to Parc Montsouris and, for a while, I recorded all the sounds around me: cars passing by, dogs, people. I did not think anything about it ; then, sitting at home, I listened to it. I took a section, a three and half minutes section, the time of a record single. And I decided to learn it, by listening it constantly ; it is rather moronic!
Whenever I had a little time, I listened to it, trying to learn it as you would learn a piece of music: Yes, the engine of this car is accelerating, RPM go up, and then the dog barks, and then you hear a pigeon on the side...
This exercise was extremely interesting to do, mainly because I realized that it is possible to learn it. Something as disjointed and arbitrary than this became highly coherent, after I had heard it a number of times.
I really managed to imagine that this thing was built, in a certain way: Ok, so there he puts this little thing, and this motif comes at the same time that this thing...
Excellent! Since I did this, I am able to listen to a lot of things quite differently."
For Pierre, repeated listening and learning of the sound data, had generated structures, had augmented reality
, made ignored sounds audible, and charted a sequencing and a mapping of his sound recording, not under the authority of existing structures that he would have discovered, but under his own administration.
That's why Pierre was a great sound recordist, who raised high, during many years, the quality of French film sound.
"The ear, faced with such listening, worries, is reassured, weaves intimate relationships with the unknown, or forge a knowledge through the language. The ear is fragile. It is under the influence.
DC Audiovisuel wish you a happy holiday season with family and friends, and a sparkling new year 2013!
Many thanks to David Airob
and Pascal Chantier
for their wonderful photographies of Pierre.