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Christophe Chassol

  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
  • Christophe Chassol, BIG SUN, video still, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

BIG SUN, February – March, 2014, Fort-de-France, Martinique

“After New Orleans and India, my musical antivoyage ended in the West Indies, which are at the heart of what I want to express, the most intimate and yet the most universal. As in my previous pieces Nola Chérie and Indiamore, I filmed and recorded noises, sounds, and music to make what I call an ultrascore. In Martinique, I captured elements of the musical identity of the island, filming and recording Carnival bands and parades, the Creole language and accents, rain showers, birdsongs, sound systems, sea waves, flutes and conch shells, storytellers. I wanted above all to film Carnival in order to have access to people at a particular moment in time.” —Christophe Chassol


With BIG SUN, a one-hour, three-part film essay, Christophe Chassol emulates the dynamics of documentary cinema yet approximates a fragmentary portrait by following small groups and single masqueraders. The closed and by definition inaccessible character of the lived experience of Carnival is rendered through means inherent to cinema itself. In a documentary, the moving image would have fixed one moment from a particular carnival for eternity. But Chassol opts to represent the experience of a spectator, and this becomes a reflection on the experience of performance. BIG SUN is a visual and musical presentation of the carnival as an ephemeral moment and therefore as a natural site for performance.

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About the Artist

Christophe Chassol

Born in 1976, Chassol discovered music at the age of four. Son of an amateur-saxophonist father, he joined the Conservatory as others join the army. He spent sixteen years there, starting out by learning harmony, scales, and melody as essential illumination for what would follow. Traumatized at a very tender age by the soundtrack for the film The Towering Inferno, Chassol’s initial ambition was to compose for the cinema, covertly uniting sound and image in order to produce movie music in the tradition of Jerry Goldsmith, Michel Magne, and Quincy Jones, among others. In the mid-1990s, Chassol practically disappeared. He headed for darkly-lit movie houses with immediate boarding for fifteen years of composition for the big screen, television, and advertising. Between advertising jingles, Chassol found the time to become an orchestra conductor from 1994 to 2002, and then discovered the world of pop music while accompanying Phoenix and Sébastian Tellier on Politics (2004), for which he did most of the arrangements.


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