Jérôme Lefèvre, Pierre-Nicolas Ledoux – Optical Sound & Pierre Beloüin : 1997-x Broché


Optical Sound/Les Presses du Réel, ISBN-13: 979-1096749034, French, 206 pages, 2017, France

Musicians have historically been close to visual artists, and significant parts of the avant-garde and alternative music scenes have been directly engaged with the production of “art” beyond music. Pierre Beloüin and his Optical Sound label, celebrating twenty years of activities, have embraced this trajectory since the very beginning. For him preserving the freedom of a music label to make art, whenever needed, was practiced through different levels. This book is both a monograph and a label catalogue and is visually organised to give room to all these articulations, with Beloüin’s installations alternating label’s editions and music releases, in what should be understood as a continuum. He extensively uses musical and non-musical formats in a way that easily crosses any medium: records, CDs, CD-ROMs, early net art websites, DVSs, tapes, installations, t-shirts, screen prints and editions, like the celebrated “The Optical Sound” magazine. Even if his image is often present, like the portrayed multiple versions of himself as a one-man-band in one of his most renowned installations (“L’homme orchestre”), a crucial value emerging from his work is the collaborative and participative creations, using the label as a catalyst. One of his more specific accomplishments has been to make a permanent installation in a hotel room (“Dreamachine Room” at the Château hotel in Montvillargenne – Chantilly), made with dream machines, and a specific room aesthetic and soundtrack, which perfectly summarises his personal cross-disciplinary attitude.

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