Antoine Bertin is an artist who listens his way around the boundaries between documentary and fiction, the poetic and the political, the living and the artificial. His work consists of audio narratives combining elements of broadcast, walk, sculpture and publication. Weaving technology together with storytelling, he is curious about our relationship with the environment, the ‘unreachable’ and the idea of progress. Born in 1985, trained as a sound engineer at ENS Louis Lumière and graduating with an MA in Sound Art from London College of Communication, Antoine currently works in London, Paris and Brussels.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
Roman Signer’s Läuten auf dem Fluss (sounds on the river). An alarm clock attached to a board floating down a river. One morning, the artist set the alarm for 6pm before launching the object never to see it again. I’d like to be the person passing by the river later that day when the alarm went off.
Who inspires you and why? an artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
My uncle Michel. He’s a translator. Our conversations can last for days and stretch from farts to the edge of the universe. Surfing between languages, he is amazing at expressing complexity in simple terms and finding beauty behind the most simple words. I find the work of Francis Alÿs more inspiring every day. The way he engages in person with the world, not being afraid to question it in simple terms and decipher it through seemingly pointless actions. Moreover he created a piece involving a fox (the Nightwatch), the challenges of which I recently realised through my own work! He’s good.
What are your cultural aspirations? what do you still want to see, do and achieve?
I spent a lot of time in the woods over the last two years as part of a residency with Forestry Commission England. I want to carry on travelling to forests around the world and explore the ways in which they allow us to reflect back on the city. Each project is an opportunity to develop an eclectic set of skills and share time with very different people. My last project took me from forestry to astrobiology! Through these artistic tools and connections, I hope to contribute interestingly to all sorts of projects beyond the boundary of art strictly speaking. Listening sensibility and sound related practices have a lot to bring to our lives and relationship with the environment.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
I have just moved to Brussels. The city is very new to me but I am already enjoying the contrast between apparent tranquility and stimulating creativity. The city is generous in time and space and located at the centre of Europe! It's Ideal to visit more leading culture destinations around the world and report back to you. I also spend a lot of time in London where I always get overwhelmed by inspiration and excitement.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
I am in the process of bringing the outcome of my residency with Sound and Music and Forestry Commission England to the public. It’s an eclectic body of work comprising sounds of a peri-urban area recorded during 12 hours from a fox, an urban fox safari lead by an ecologist and accompanied by a choir, a radio telescope made from the cast of a fox ear, among other body parts: www.antoinebertin.com www.antoinebertin.tumblr.com @ant1bert1 I am also the arts director of Soundry, a creative listening laboratory. We were created by an audio company called Binauric to collaborate with artists from any discipline on exploring the creative possibilities of 3 dimensional sound, the essence of their technology. Through our creations we hope to make listening experiences and sound sharing a more inspiring part of our everyday: www.soundry.com www.soundrycreations.tumblr.com @soundry August 2014.