Immaterial How

Program note

IMMATERIAL HOW is a work about idealism.

Part 1, an audioguide for heterotrophs, frames the biological condition of requiring nutrition from external sources as the subject of an imaginary retrofuturistic outdoor museum (filmed primarily in Montréal’s Parc Frédéric-Back). Heterotrophy is a conceptual seed for the piece that is used as a metaphor to examine the tension between individual and collective needs. The work responds to the cultural-philosophical frame of German Idealism, and the way it deeply interweaves with the history of Classical Music, referencing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in particular.

Part 2, Ein Hungerkünstler is named both after Franz Kafka’s short story and Lee Bul’s sculpture in homage to it. This movement examines the relationship between the cultural valorization of suffering and human ideation. It charts a path through Christian and Classical Greek imagery, radical 60s-70s performance artworksand the toxic dehumanization of Idols in celebrity culture. Ein Hungerkünstler also responds to the idea the ‘mind/body’ split and the relationship between this and body dysmorphia, self-destruction, and the creation of idealized virtual selves.

Part 3, the germ of compassion is the heart of benevolence, is titled after a quote from the philosopher Mencius. This movement, featuring footage of plant-care (performed by Gabriella Garcia) attempts to return to the real from the ideal, and find calm and balance in flow and care, in accepting the material now.

IMMATERIAL HOW was commissioned by Proxima Centauri, Hanatsu Miroir, and
Ensemble Paramirabo, with assistance from the Artistic Office of the New Aquitaine Region (OARA) and the Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers of Music (SACEM).


For 14 musicians (Proxima Centauri, HANATSUmiroir & Paramirabo)

flutes : Sylvain Millepied, Ayako Okubo, Jeffrey Stonehouse
saxophone : Marie-Bernadette Charrier
clarinet : Victor Alibert 
Keyboards : Hilomi Sakaguchi, Daniel Áñez
percussions : Benoit Poly, Olivier Maurel, David Therrien-Brongo
violin : Hubert Brizard
viola : Laurent Camatte
cello : Viviana Gosselin 
electronics : Christophe Havel


Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo
Funded by
Bourse à l’écriture de l’OARA, Aide à la commande de la SACEM
C flute /
C flute /
C flute /
Alto saxophone /
B-flat clarinet /
Violin /
Alto /
Cello /
Synthesizer /
Synthesizer /

Last performances