Pauchi Sasaki x Jessica Beshir
Pauchi Sasaki started playing the violin at the age of five on an instrument made to her measurements. Some three decades later, she has "added to" her violin to such an extent that sometimes you can barely discern the original instrument. This evolution sums up her musical trajectory: from classical to ultra-modern electronics. Born in Lima in 1981, the Peruvian with Japanese roots has since become an internationally acclaimed and award-winning composer and, above all, a multidisciplinary performer. She first studied journalism in Lima and then switched to specialising in the music of the Andes. This was followed by studies in klezmer and the music of northern India. She calls her own music "introspective, abstract on the one hand, emotional on the other".
Again and again, she seeks new tonalities with all kinds of techniques, using both her own body and musicians from other disciplines. Indeed, in some performances she wears a "dress" consisting of 100 small speakers connected to sensors and microphones. Her creativity knows no bounds. Philip Glass gave her the opportunity to study with him for two years as part of the Rolex mentorship. All that resulted in several art installations, from Tokyo to Lima and Cannes. And in atmospheric scores for some 30 short and feature films, the most famous titles being Climas, Perro Guardián and Canción sin nombre. In blending music with technology, she knows no equal.
Jessica Beshir was born in Mexico City in 1988 to a Mexican mother and an Ethiopian father. She grew up in the Ethiopian city of Harar and later studied Film Studies and Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She settled in Brooklyn, New York. She regularly returned to Ethiopia: the country is the central theme in her work. Yet she found the inspiration for her first short film He Who Dances on Wood closer to home. In Brooklyn Park, she met Fred Nelson, a man who finds his daily joy in tap dancing and even converses with God through it. A beautiful portrait in which Beshir even gives a voice to the wooden plank Nelson dances on.
Her next short film Hairat is about a man in Harar who has a special bond with hyenas. Both short films premiered at Sundance and won awards there - and elsewhere. She worked on her first feature film Faya Dayi for 10 years. The film grew out of her visits to Harar. After a 10-year absence, she found that coffee cultivation in Harar had disappeared and been replaced by the psychedelic qat. Some imams used it to meditate, but for most Ethiopians it is a means of escaping daily reality. In Faya Dayi, Beshir outlines the historical, social and mythical context of qat. In doing so, she employs a dreamy narrative in sublime black-and-white images.