Jean-Philippe Renoult (born in Paris, 1963) is an author, composer and sound artist located in Paris. He has been working for public radios (particularly France Culture) for over 15 years. His era of specialization is field recording. As a writer, he released Global Techno: voyages initiatiques au cœur des musiques électroniques, (a book in which he recounts the history of techno music). He currently writes articles for Poptronics, a website about digital cultures, for which he set up Popsonics Radio, a web-radio for creation and mediation. Jean-Philippe Renoult is also known as Jopo Stereo, SonoTech, and L/R for his music composing works.
The Médiathèque Théodore Monod of Betton is a place of exchange that is opened to everyone, where one can find a number of different media. This multimedia library opened in 2008 and provides its public with plenty of resources as well as areas that are well suited to anybody, in order to favor social cohesion between the inhabitants.
The place had Jean-Philippe Renoult in September 2010 as an artist-in-residence. During this period of creation, he did audio recordings and a work focused on an old mechanical piano set in the building. He offers his perception of the place through this residency that he called Le Piano de Betton (the Piano of Betton).
Jean-Philippe Renoult on Le Piano de Betton :
At the heart of the multimedia library, at the end of the children’s area, sits a centenary mechanical piano. I approach this object as one approaches a wild animal… It doesn’t work, it is completely out of tune.
I start making noises with the structure, and fasten several microphones on the frame. Then I open the object in order to access its depths… Strings, hammers (drums and triangle), the roll and the picks, features of street organs appear to me… All of this fascinates me.
I rub, hit, scratch with several objects I find on the spot: a rubber band, a small ruler, a knitting needle, a paper knife, paper clips fitted to the strings… I’m not playing the piano, I rather play « with » the piano, which is much better.
I really liked reading into the Theodore Monod multimedia library almost only through this piano. It is a fetish, a totem, which admittedly is odd because it does not belong here. But it fully customizes the place, making it unique. This piano, like all the authors the library shelters, is full of a colossal recollection, and above all, it can tell stories… Even acoustic ones.
Jean-Philippe Renoult (March 2011)
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