the arrest

Ensemble, soundtrack, videotext.

Yannis' YouTube channel

the arrest is based on a dream of George Perec. It is from a collection of 150 dream narratives which he published in 1973 as "La Boutique Obscure". The particular dream used in the arrest is typical of a recurring nightmare which he used to have of being stopped and arrested by the police, a fear which he perhaps carried from the experience of his parents who were deported and killed in the holocaust. In fact there are references in the dream to his Jewish heritage and the discomfort he felt regarding his pro-Palestinian position. In the dream he was not sure why or who was arresting him. He is also unsure of his identity, he asks in his dream whether he will be a Tunisian prisoner in France or a French prisoner in Tunisia, but mostly he is concerned that in prison he will have to keep his socks on for several more years, and that they are already dirty.

Continuing from a series I wrote for Ensemble MAE in 2006, dreams of the blind, this piece sets the dream text as an animated text film, underscored by electronics and ensemble. There is an interplay of several layers and speeds which suits the perculiar disjointed time narrative of dreams. The audience has to read the text in the specific time that is revealed in the music, so just as we are forming images in our minds when we read the dream text, we also hear our mind's voices reading the text to the music. This is a way of making the voice of the audience both intimate and integral to the music. As opposed to hearing it sung or spoken by a performer on stage, the voice is an internal one, closer to the voices that drive these dream narratives.

performance history

  • June 2010; Premiere at the Poetry International Festival Rotterdam.
the arrest