You receive Vincent Moon’s film, and are asked nicely to write the accompanying text. You say yes, and wonder about the nature of the beast; you watch the film, letting it wash over you hoping that words will come; you close the cover, letting it sleep, and you wait… then the panic begins, slowly, as nothing arrives. Nothing sufficiently real. You ask for help, but you take the help too late, and you begin to despair.
It was already known that ARLT has two bodies. Vincent Moon’s images are full of the evidence, but it takes seeing them live to truly understand. Noises resembling those of another century, those of Sing Sing, but not exclusively. Cheeks, a beard, fingers, calves. It’s rare to hear a song embodied so physically.
But ARLT is above all something old, shiny with age. These two and their strange songs come less from far away as they do from another era. It’s necessary to enter into their den, in the cavern where these two pass the time sifting through the sediments of more than one life. It’s necessary to discover this timeless era, the era where the Eiffel Tower was little more than a postcard hanging askew on a marked wall, this era where words rolled like ancient rocks before Eloise Decazes reduced them to their simplest expression. A melody without words that manages to say more than a litany could.
We’d seen them in the vicinity of other time travelers – Josephine Foster, or Mike ‘Sport’ Murphy, amongst others. We found them in the midst of books, piles of books, pages and pages of words long written, on a paper as yellowed as it would ever be, in an old institution, steps away from centuries-old stones. As it should be.
ARLT are like a hidden treasure. Something everyone couldn’t hear, something passing furtively through the air. Something whispered about in the shadows, amongst the indifferent crowds and the grinding of machinery, like a short prayer that we repeat to ourselves or in the ear of another, to reassure during the night. Or because this music travels quickly, like this “Rouille” rolling down a street that can never trap it, without stopping, an aerial song that seems to be guided by the wind and not by the breath of two adult bodies. You should try to follow it, as much as you can. Everything would get better, you’ll see.