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Champ-contrechamp

Film Script  •  Performance

Leeds
2022

Champ-contrechamp is a piece of film script written both a priori and a posteriori for a Field Trip.

Main Characters

The Narrator ................. Storyteller and trip guide
The Questioner (Q) ........... The absent who interrogates
Voice 1 ...................... Academic
Voice 2 ...................... Academic
Voice 3 ...................... Academic


The Timer

EXT. IN THE AIR -  NIGHT

Staying prepared and try to maintain the balance. A chute is approaching.
Out of breath. One second. Two second. And three.
Awaken from the nightmare.

Heart beating.

EXT. UNIVERSITY ROAD -  DAY

It appears every voyage would produce a narrative by itself.

Does this indicate that the process of voyaging contains or bears the de-familiarisation of the inhabitable time and space from our own routined work and life? The motive(s) would remain unknown since human labour in its modernised disguisement follows with civic weekends and holidays, whereas the other side of human work entitles the authorship of individual  practising which is yet more demanding the time ‘off’. Nevertheless, despite the purpose of field-trip, as long as the journey itself continues, we shall always find our body moving.

FADE IN:

We meet at the front steps of FAHACS building at the University Road.

We will start the field trip soon. During the journey, every participant is required to remain in silence and leave their smartphones and other electronic equipment at FAHACS building. The text sheet will be provided for conversations.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
Welcome everyone.

Conversation I

EXT. APPROACHING TO THE RIDGE - DAY

Walking with relaxed and fast pace, we go down to the Woodhouse Ridge. Two stop walking and pick up the text sheet.

Both sheets are held with each of the two’s both hands with straight arms. This doubled arm-space distant two of us from each other.

The conversation starts.

VOICE 1
What is the proposition?

VOICE 2
That since beauty is the opposite of ugliness, they are two?

VOICE 1
Certainly.

VOICE 2
And inasmuch as they are two, each of them is one?

VOICE 1
True again.

VOICE 2
And of just and unjust, good and evil, and of every other class, the same remark holds: taken singly, each of them is one; but from the various combinations of them with actions and things and with one another, they are seen in all sorts of lights and appear many?

VOICE 1
Very true.

VOICE 2
And this is the distinction which I draw between the sight-loving, art-loving, practical class and those of whom I am speaking, and who are alone worthy of the name of philosophers.

NARRATOR
End of Conversation I.

INT. UNIVERSITÉ DE PARIS 8 - THE STUDIO - DAY

FLASHBACK:

We find ourselves sitting on the floor at the danse studio of the University of Paris 8. We remain immobilised just like any other academic teaching format would happen across the whole campus and being established over the major HE education institutions across the globe. However, this hour is not supposed to take as the conventional format. It is a ‘recovery’ moment by having a round table conversation after a session of learning contemporary dance through body. The raised skin temperatures can still be sensed and we try to re-find the calm of breathing and by any second, someone in the studio will feel free to pose the next question.

CHRISTINE
So what’s your most unforgettable film experience?

It becomes less relevant to clearly search the filmic moment within the conversation moment. But in a few-year time, this hour might have become a period of life when we can still reclaim the resistance of political culture life.

We choreograph and dance, we observe and demonstrate, we contemplate and deliberate, we speak and write.

Conversation II

EXT. THE RIDGE - DAY

We arrived at the ridge.

An interview is taken place on the ridge. Sections with underlines are expected to be performed by the participants.

VOICE 1
What’s your name?

VOICE 2
(Participant improvisation)
_______________

VOICE 1
What’s your profession?

VOICE 2
_______________  

VOICE 1
How to describe your job and work responsibilities?

VOICE 2
_______________

VOICE 1
There’s an adventure ship departing for expedition. 30 crew members on board.
One day, unfortunately the ship encounters a serious technical issue and it’s going to sink completely in 30 minutes.
(Voice 1 continues...)
Surrounded by oceanic predators, the only way to survive from the catastrophe is the one lifeboat left for them. The lifeboat can only load with the max capacity of 7 people each time and a round trip between the adventure ship to the nearest land takes 17 minutes.
(Voice 1 pauses, and continues...)
May I ask you, eventually how many people will be survived from this incident?

VOICE 2
_______________

VOICE 1
The occupation is present.

NARRATOR
End of Conversation II.

JUMP TO:

EXT. THE OCEAN - THE RIA D’ETEL - DAY

We are in front of the ocean.

Since we have walked jogged one hour before sunrise, We can almost not to identify the geographical origins of the ocean.  This moment, the low visibility prevents us extending our view depth of the horizon. The heart rates remain calm.

We are surrounded by the sequence sounds of waves, winds and sands. Once upon a time, Italo Calvino’s Mr Palomar decided to make his own contemplation or philosophical observations as  ‘Reading a Wave’ (1983). Our body is in the nature. Yet, our mind is connected to the Calvino’s text.

This co-observation lasts a couple of minutes before disturbed by two things. The first, was the fight of cineaste artist. ‘There is no new wave, only the sea’, says Claude Chabrol. The second, was the cold temperature.

We start jogging again.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
We usually would offer, or are offered by someone as the role to ‘authorise’ a captain onboard for the role of navigation.
(the voice continues)
Shall we revisit a folktale?
We could say Monstro, the unconventional whale was an equivalence of evil dragon in the ocean: a legendary creature who was introduced in Disney’s 1940 animated adaptation on Carlo Collodi’s 1883 book, The Adventures of Pinocchio.

Sir Jiminy H. Cricket was the deuteragonist from the animated  film work. He used to speak in Pinocchio’s conscience.

SIR JIMINY H. CRICKET
Monstro is ‘a whale of a whale! Why, he swallows whole ships alive!’

NARRATOR (V.O.)
This is a systemic design of narrative.

In the text Sésame, ouvre-toi !, In Search of the Absent Antagonist within the Moment of Existence, we have discussed the story narrative from the Morphology of the folktale (Propp 1968) would decode that the initial situation – before the antagonist (the seeker) taking action towards their pursuit – could be generated by the function lack, a moment of ‘realisation’ which is ‘dependent upon a motivation causing dispatch, or an immediate search’.

Walter Disney’s number one antagonist was commented by Benjamin that the search is there ‘in order to learn the meaning of fear’.

WALTER BENJAMIN
All Mickey Mouse films are founded on the motif of leaving home in order to learn what fear is... the public recognises its own life in them.

Here, the presence of fear brought by monsters, which is related through generations since the very beginning of human civilisations, would frighten, intimidate and intrigue us to eventually enter the phase of ‘realisation’. Since we are discussing about folktales, Siegfried already has completed his own story through the epic poem Nibelungenlied (AD 1200).

In 1924, Friz Lang created a mechanical Dragon to visualise the imagination of fear on the silence screen. Just like how human observe the nature and her creatures by developing our own art and science, if we position the Vitruvius virtues of architecture, ‌firmitas, utilitas, et venustas, as a way of thinking to consider the human-made or artificial objects, there might be three kinds of mechanical monsters. Apart from Lang’s Dragon on the dry land, let’s call them aerostat and watercraft.

Conversation III

EXT. IN THE WOODS - DAY

We continues the journey without pause. Two of us walking next to each other. Except the one who speaks, the rest of us listen to the words quietly.

VOICE 1
I perceive, I said, that you are vastly amused at having plunged me into such a hopeless discussion; but now you will be still more amused at the meagreness of my imagination: Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better.
(Voice 1 continues...)
The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering—every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such manner as might be expected of them.
(Voice 1 continues...)
Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not—the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.
(Voice 1 continues...)
Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

NARRATOR
End of Conversation III.

Conversation IV

EXT. URBAN FARM

We arrived at the ridge.

Another interview is taken place. Sections with underlines are expected to be performed by the participants.

VOICE 1
What’s your name?

VOICE 2
(Participant improvisation)
____________

VOICE 1
At present, how to describe your state of mind?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
Would you prefer something aged or brand new?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
Animal Farm or Brave New World?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
Where would be your most ideal place to live and work?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
One ordinary morning when you wake up, you start to realise that no one can be found in the world you live. What would you plan for the rest of your day?

VOICE 2
____________

VOICE 1
The occupation is absent.

NARRATOR
End of Conversation IV.

INT. AIRPLANE - NIGHT

The body is in the air by the flight. Among the crowd. The Crowd is facing the same direction.

We remained in silence when the ambience light off, each put on the headphones for browsing the onboarded films.

The The cinema theatre is present. The entertainment is there. To confront the trend we tactically navigate the film list and we have found Werckmeister Harmonies by Bela Tarr (2000).

NARRATOR (V.O.)
The back-seat small screen and terrible sounds are joined with the onboard flight noise. You look at the screen and wander into another world. You see the fireplace as the first place. With the flare making you wonder. Soon, the fire was covered with a mug of water.

It was 10 PM in the film. Almost like the real time in the airplane. We co-live with the characters on the screen.

BARTENDER
Valuska. Come on.
Show us.

From orbital revolution and rotation, we watch the speed and pace through Valuska’s choreography and the other drunkens’ performance in the pub. This is the 15-minute sequence shot since the fireplace.

INT. BUDAPEST COACH STATION - DAY

FLASHBACK:

The Euroline coach arrive at the Budapest Coach Station. We come here with a two-week travel pass to across the continent. The travel rule allows passengers only be able to book the next destination only after every time arriving in the first stop. Here, the stop is Budapest.

After being sitting hours in the bus departing from Nantes, the first question to the bus station staff was where were the available cities to travel; and the second followed as, ‘do you know Bela Tarr’.

STATION STAFF
Bela Tarr? You mean Tarr Bela?

In Tarr’s film, perhaps we can question if we could position one role to represent our individual self. Then who would be? Valuska, the pub patron, a person in the performing groups while being drunken or someone from somewhere else in the film?

Music comes when Valuska announce the phrase ‘a complete silence’. The violin followed Valuska’s footsteps while walking along in the town’s small road covered with discontinued spot lights.

Conversation V

EXT. ON THE HILL - DAY

We run or job from the bottom end to the top of hill to continues the journey without pause. While resting, two of us relay with the text sheet.

VOICE 1
In the beginning there would be four persons. Maybe five. Just about as many as the needs of the body. A farmer for food, a mason for housing, a weaver for clothing. To these let us add a shoemaker and some other worker to provide for material necessities.

VOICE 2
A city is not simply a concentration of needs and a division of the means of production. Right from the start something else is needed—justice, the power of what is better over what is less good.

VOICE 1
A first clue might be a slight fluctuation concerning the number of equals. Four or five, we do not know exactly.In the city of necessity he leaves open the possibility that there is one person too many.

VOICE 2
The Fifth person.

VOICE 1
No one among the equals is superior, but one of them could be less indispensable than the others. Could it be the fifth person, whose essential function is not spelled out any further?

VOICE 2
The division of labor will take care of that problem. It will assign a specialist exclusively to each activity, and all will be for the best: ‘More things are produced, and better and more easily, when one person performs only one task according to their nature, at the right moment, and is excused from all other occupations.’

NARRATOR
End of Conversation V.

EXT. ST GEORGE’S FIELDS - THE PRIVATE SHIP - DAY

This is A tree. This is The ship. It served the journey of the author’s individual contemplation and his team physical activities over the past lockdowns while the whole university and campus remained closed over the lockdowns between 2020 and 2021.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
We had a field trip across the Woodhouse Ridge and Meanwood Urban Farm with a little efforts to raise our heart rates while having conversations in the field. Well done everyone.

I have a special mention to thank you for sharing the journey today. Looking back to souvenirs and memories by walking, cycling, running traversed from grand or small routes over the past 5-years in the UK, I started building up experiences, knowledges, relationships with everyone in the field.

In the field. What a special term for all of us who get used to spent hours of hours in the ivory tower of studying, teaching and researches. From my part, to be outdoor and in the nature is not to ‘escape’ from our academic normalities but to complete the way of redefining and positioning oneself in search of our own ‘espace-temps (space-time)’. It starts with A moment we shared the trajectory together in the field, and it would become The moment to remember.

Thank you for the steps, words and moments in the field everyone. I look forward to hearing back from you with all suggestions and critics. I hope to see you down the road again. Soon.


Script References

Speech of Voice 1 from The Conversation I and III: Excerpts from Plato’s The Republic, 375 BC; from the Conversation V: Excerpts adapted from Jacques Rancière’s The Order of the City, 2004

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