Installation: photos, soundtracks, light, texts, objects
"I photographed my sleepers for 13 years, Baczynsky told me. "I accompanied them at night, on those boring tracks from Paris to London and from London to Paris. I was shooting only on the night ferry, and only during their sleep. They were exhausted. The long hours on the train, the queue to get on the ship, filling themselves up with liquid of any type, the arguments with other passengers or with officials of any kind, together with the noise, the heat, the cold and the spleen took a heavy toll. They were sweating with fatigue. They were prostrate, worn out, they were obsessed with laying down, anywhere; just down. They would give their kingdom for a bed..."
Why did you photographed them?
They fascinated me. Each one has to become himself. No more games, no more masks, no more armors. All of them equal, prisoners with soft limbs. They were defenseless but also intensively peaceful and innocent, whatever their nature and behaviour in the awake world. Gradually, I became anxious about their existential status; they seemed to drift into the no-man's land streching between the Realm of Being and the Country of Death. Till now, I cannot get rid of this feeling, and often I do not know who is who?.. I see them sinking into sleep like nautical wrecks swallowed by the endless tenderness of marine beds. Sometimes, especially when they crowded like sheep at noon or spread within a narrow radius, they seemed to me to be dead. Like corpses. It made me think of Auschwitz... heaps of bodies... all of them dead.
Concommitantly, during the same period I was collecting my dreams. At the beginning, at least, without any therapeutic purpose. Just through curiosity. As soon as I was awake, I was writing them down. Live dreams on fresh paper. You can see, neither are they edited, nor my snapshots retouched. Suddenly, two years ago, I felt the click. A certain link came into being between this and that. I apprehended certain connections. It seemed just to me to lend my dreams to those whose intimacy I was violating, whose peace I was revealing, whose abandon I was exposing. Their sleeps and my dreams belong to a consubstantial sphere of activity, of feeling. The rest is more technical. I decided to create a Gesamtkunstwerke, a continuum of sound and light. I prepared tapes with my dreams read aloud in various languages by friends, actors and plain people. The entire area is flooded with dim light, at the borders of visibility. The onlookers have to commit themselves no less than I did. Peeping Toms all!
It is fascinating to see how close comes Baczynsky to the concept of dream time, the backbone of the Australian aboriginal religious and social life. In "dream time", time and space are intertwined, "past, present and future are in a sense coexistent" and the screens which separate the "I" and the "others" widely opened. Likewise, Baczynsky claims quasi-religiously, the consubstantiality of concrete and dreaming experience. His hidden hope is to open channels of emotional transfer. If one can lend his dreams to many, everyone can live other people's dreams. Life may not change dramatically; there is a lot of aggression in the artist dreams and obvious sadness in his snapshots, but some incomprehension and distrust may fade away.
Genetically, Alain's language is a dignified outshoot of Performance Art wich started with the Futurists and Dada and became a form of art for its own sake at the end of the sixties. Some of the plastic artists of this period revolted against the "tyranny" of the canvas, brush and chisel, and turned to the public as stage performers. It was already a revolt within a revolt. With them, Baczynsky shares an autobiographical inclination, whose humorous embodiment is his photo-signature on the last page. Like other Performance Art performers, he takes the vow of sincerity (the reccurent bald individual of the dreams is an edifying example), he is ritually adopting striking elements of collective memory (Auschwitz) and is sensitively combining his media (visual with aural images.)
Technically, Baczynsky's dreams are "cast"in many languages. This obsession with expanded communication must have something to do with his profession: Alain is a stage man. Somebody who works with light, a light designer. The theater is his home. He calls it Visual Theater. This contemporary artistic form so much indebted to Antonin Arthaud and Berthold Brecht's ideas is no less determined by the influence which Performance Art exerted upon modern theater. Visual Theater is deeply concerned with bridging the gap between performer and audience, even at the price of forcing the spectator into an uncomfortable self-conscious state. The Visual Theater hallmark is the extent and leverage given to visual images in its productions. No wonder that many call it a Theater of Images. Robert Wilson, one of the masters of Visual Theater, speaks about a unification of arts and emphasizes in connection with one of his musical productions: "that the visuals help us hear and the singing help us see".
The circle closes again. The "lightman" undertakes a cardinal switch. He will reach the field of Performance Art, not as an artist, but as a representative of the Theater of Images. The photographs bear the mark of his familiarity with light. He cares a lot about posture, about expression, about muscular tension, about texture, about surroundings, but not about light. Light comes to him by itself. His language has a similar stage smell. It is short, precise, essential. I believe it to be as snappy as his light is soft. These are the stage rules. Consciously, Baczynsky applies them. He has nothing to hide; with lucidity, decency and restraint he reveals both others and himself. Last but not least will come the irreversible mixture of media into a final statement, the scenographic embodiment of "script" and expression. It is here that the spectator's part begins.
Dan Eban, Jerusalem.