Fragment of conversation – Sandrine Pique with Andrea Liberovici

Philharmonie de Paris programme, 17 September 2016.

S.P.: You say that you write amidst the “ruins of pop.” What do you mean by this statement?

A.L.: By the “ruins of pop” I simply mean that pop in general, after having also created some undisputed masterpieces, has lost its art. Its sole remaining function is to use a variety of languages to communicate its ideology: selling products or selling itself. I don’t know whether you are familiar with those enormous islands of rubbish, nearly as vast as continents, in the middle of the ocean. Vast expanses of bottles and plastic bags piled up on one another, blotting out the sea. Yet the sea still exists, it is hidden but it exists, it is down there and, in spite of it all, it is surviving. It survives, not just due to its depth and size, but also because there is marine life that has learned to draw its sustenance from rubbish to avoid death.

This, in a certain sense, is also how our imagination works. Glutted with propaganda and merchandise for which to yearn, oppressively nourished by ‘junk food’, it seems to have forgotten its potential depth, and hence its humanity. What interests me, as author, is thus to use pop, the dominant language, like “narrative bait” to spur reflection on the various — aesthetic and otherwise — forms of domination. To return to the great Master, Goethe referred to the scenes of his Faust (among the many other ways he referred to them) as a series of self-contained popular ballads, in each of which various modes of writing (“high”, “low” and so forth) are adopted.

This typical approach taken by some classics and the theatre, which bears no relation to the post-modern collage and instead consists of constant re-writing aimed at talking to people about their own contemporaneity, is the sole aesthetic teaching that I recognise as such and that I wish to learn. Among my friends are many composers who have a sort of obsession with so-called ‘style’. This subject has never interested me as a subject in its own right. If I have something sincere to say I will find the mode (the style?) to say it. Otherwise, if I have nothing to say… no style will protect me.

Andrea Liberovici is a composer of his time. (…) His works narrate the tragedy of post-modern humanity – Jean-Jacques Nattiez “Portrait of the composer by Frankenstein”