Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts Part II - Breakfasting Together, If You Wish

Robert Filliou


Video, 00:37:00.
Materials: laserdisc

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp / Collection Flemish Community (Inv. no. BK7511_M352_6).

This action and video follows the same form of presentation as the book Teaching and Learning as Performing Arts. Robert Filliou himself announces the title and first chapter. There are two Robert Fillious: the Robert Filliou on screen who gives orders to the other Robert Filliou standing near the monitor, who carries them out (like master and pupil, or master and slave). Pupil Filliou is instructed to write (with chalk on a plank) the titles of various chapters of performances (lessons on making contact with the world). These interludes punctuate the entire tape, which alternates between Robert Filliou talking from the monitor and the film itself.

a) Video Dinner. A student is seated, back to the camera, facing a monitor. He dialogues with Robert Filliou who is facing the student, and the spectator, like a television newsreader. The artist questions the student and leads him to examine the world and knowledge ("we drink the same water as the dinosaurs, his brother told him"). He initiates the student in telepathic music. Four dimensional space time continuum. Robert Filliou films the street while giving a voice over commentary on the nature of things: "A bird is incomprehensible. A bourgeois is incomprehensible. A bird eaten by a bourgeois, it's a meal […]. A bourgeois eaten by a bird, it's a miracle."

c) Recycling. Robert Filliou, seated and wearing feminine attire, is talking. He is surrounded by hats. A woman is singing the story of a woman who has left because nobody could make her happy. Robert Filliou quickly puts on various hats.

d) Skeye Analysis. This consists of a fixed shot on Robert Filliou’s face while he looks at the sky with his head tilted back. He talks, confiding his reflections about the position of the artist in relation to the world and about art as a source of energy. Although the sky is not in frame, it is reflected in the artist’s glasses.

e) Bed time her / his story, sub-titled "The names of some celebrities translated into Japanese". A Japanese person, filmed in a tight shot, undresses and sits on a bed. There is a switched-off television at the end of the bed. He lies down, takes off his watch and switches on the TV. Robert Filliou appears on the screen. He is reciting the names of artists who have made the history of art, adding "san" (indicating the person in Japanese) to each name. The Japanese person switches off the monitor and goes to sleep.

The last three sequences take the form of a performance:

- Video - Univercity, Travelling light - It's a real dance. Robert Filliou is on stage, facing and addressing an invisible audience. He makes, and comments on, a series of actions, questioning the spectators and inviting them to participate in a collective dream, the creative use of leisure…

- Video Breakfasting together… If you wish. Robert Filliou is drinking tea and reading the newspaper. Sitting at the end of the table, facing the screen and the spectator, he calls out ("Hey you"), inviting him to open the newspaper at the same page as himself, commenting the job offers from the point of view of the artist’s work. It’s a pretext for considering moral and social values, and exalting the artist’s role as a ‘shaman’ and the virtues of un-learning.

- Video Breakfasting with Roy Kiyooka. Roy Kiyooka, is sitting at a table, watching Video Breakfasting together... on a monitor that is installed like a guest. He drinks tea, smokes and reads the newspaper, as Robert Filliou has suggested. In turn, he also comments the small ads and Robert Filliou’s reflections, adding his own.

(Source:Catherine Ouy)

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