A tea at the Phi Centre

Un thé au Centre Phi

Photo: The Phi Centre
The artists Pierre Kwenders (our photo), Lydia Képinski and Miles Greenberg have drunk tea, reciting poetry.


Well known for its facilities on the cutting edge of the technology, including its exposure to virtual reality course Echo : reverberation in the space, the Phi Centre presents free entrance until 6th January, the video installation, Poetry and tea. Twelve artists, twelve poems, twelve teapots. A zen and calming, before plunging into the virtual reality, for who will decide whether to continue the visit of the Phi.

If one drinks tea to forget the noise of the world, as wrote the author in china Lu Yu of the Tang dynasty (618-907) in his book The classic of tea, well, mission accomplished. In space, a Plateau on the first floor of the Phi Centre, where there is the famous project video Poetry and tea, the noises and the hustle and bustle of the city are far away.

All in all, a dozen screens installed on three sides present twelve artists who lend themselves to the game of rhymes and sounds with such a frenzy that it was goosebumps. The sound is excellent, the image is beautiful. Moreover, in this beautiful renovated building of four floors — the old factory of la cristallerie Holland —, both lounge, sound studio and post-production film room, digital cinema, performances, exhibitions, audio-visual recording, everything here is at the cutting edge of technology.

A choir of poems

It is on the largest of the tv screens of the space that, in turn, the artists declaim their poem, sitting at a table adorned with flowers, fruits, plants and exotic teapots, of which no two are exactly alike. Each artist poured a cup of tea with an address in the crazy, sometimes flowing one metre above the cup. We hear the sound of the tea pouring into the cup as if you were sitting at the table with the artist.

Poems of Gaston Miron, Jay Winston Ritchie, Daria Colonna, Pablo Neruda, Peaches, Antoine-Roger Bolamba, Lao Tzu, Rumi, Richard Brautigan, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Shinji Moon and Juliana Huxtable, beautifully recited by Lydia Képinski, Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne of Milk & Bone, Casey Spooner, Peaches, Pierre Kwenders, Yes Mccan, Narcy, Jessica Brillhart, Eliza McNitt, Miles Greenberg, and Juliana Huxtable.

Great subjects are discussed, such as racism, love, spiritual quest, social claims… the expression of The artists, their respir, their emotional intensity, their slow gestures… all of that plot. And then we are overwhelmed by the flood of words, by the melody. We don’t always understand, but this is not serious, since you can now listen and repeat the poem. And you can always ask for explanations.

“Our mediators are there to help visitors,” says Myriam Achard, director of public relations and communications at Phi. “They talk with them, reassure them and support them as needed. They are one of the strengths of the house. “

And so it was that by tasting a tea — courtesy of the Phi until January 6 — the visitor can discover some of the valuable contributors of this hive of artistic Old, from past encounters and benefits recent, to which the Centre was asked to play the game of to recite a poem loved by using a cup of tea.

From poetry to virtual reality

For those who are interested in virtual reality, they will be able to at the same time learn about this art without having to buy a ticket for the current exhibition. Right next to Poetry and tea, two chairs with a helmet RV invite you to view Pearl, an installation of six minutes created by Patrick Osborne and produced by David Eisenmann. “This is not a recent work, since it date of 2016, but it is a work extremely touching, and I was quite marked,” says Myriam Achard.

It is also the first short film virtual to have been nominated for an Oscar in 2017. Pearl has won a Peabody Award in the category “Future of Media” and an Emmy award in the category ” Innovation in Interactive Programming “.

Pearl tells the adventures of a little girl and his father, aboard their faithful hatchback car, criss-crossing the country in pursuit of their dreams. This car, which also serves as home, allows them to take out all the dead ends and find happiness wherever they go, even where it seems impossible. This touching story tells of the legacy that is left from generation to generation, and the love that he bears.

And then, there was the sting. Really. And we eventually buy a ticket three hours for the current exhibition, Echo : reverberation in the space, which ends on 20 January. Three hours, a helmet screwed to the head, spinning in all directions to not miss anything facilities. You get out of it trembling, stunned, impressed, upset.

Yes, upset. Especially after viewing the installation, Vestige, an experience in virtual reality thirteen minutes, directed by Aaron Bradbury and produced by Paul Mowbray, Antoine Cayrol and Jill Keklas Basmadjian. It is a documentary of inventive work that explores the question of our relationship with grief. One enters in the brain of Lisa, a young American from Utah who is mourning the loss of Erik, her husband. It explores his thoughts, and experimenting with it the healing that takes place with time. Phew !

Anyway, please do not hesitate to cross the door of this building of the Nineteenth century, at 407, rue Saint-Pierre. To take tea and discover a place of exceptional art.

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