Three artists participating in the Jerusalem Show emerged from discussions on the concept of Exhaustion between Jack Persekian and Tarek Atoui who made three suggestions: Vlatka Horvat, Rigo 23 and Uriel Barthélémi.
Uriel Barthélémi is a composer, drummer and electro-acoustic musician who creates compelling physical and psychological dramas through the intense production of sound. Combining drums and electronics, composition and improvisation, his work captures the very essence of live performance.
The original proposition for the Jerusalem Show was that Barthélémi play in the street in Jerusalem for 6 hours continuously, but this was modified to take the form of three separate performances over several days. The first performance took place at the French Cultural Centre on October 4th and the second at Al Ma’mal on October 6th. The final part of the Triptych will be performed tonight (October 9th) on the roof of the PADICO building in the Old City.
Jack asked me and explained the Jerusalem Show and I said OK because making a performance like this sounded like something I would really like to do. I changed the proposition a little because six hours is a lot and I didn’t want to just make something that focused only on the physical aspects of exhaustion. I chose the form of a triptych. I took this form because it is something that is used in religious art so I wanted to hijack the form because of the association with religious aspects of Jerusalem.
I use a language that exists in normal music but it’s more extreme or more radical. However there is always a continuum. Technically I use basic Max/MSP software which allows me to programme my own applications so I can develop special effects for the drums. The sequence works as if you are flicking a remote control. However, the first part of the triptych was more like a concert because it was not completely random. I had pre-programmed Part I. In the second performance I wanted to gradually discard the tools so that I had less and less tools to express myself with. The third and final part of the triptych will really be complete improvisation. I will have no other forms to help. It will be free drumming for as long as I can play.