Reverberating memories on a field of play

pfeiffer-the-saints.jpgFootball – sport in general – has never really entered my life, except in 1998, when France won the world cup by beating Brazil 0-3 in the final. I was in my hometown at the time, and there was not much else to do than gathering with the rest of my fellow Frenchmen in front of the TV and give my personal support to the French team’s own Saints. I found myself in a bar with giant screens and people kept rushing in throughout the match. Being a virgin player in this social game, I was emotionally struck for life by the tremendous energy emanating from the crowd, which was literally transported – propelled is a better word – one meter off the ground through their chanting and cheering. The intensity of the communion rose to fanatical levels when Petit scored the third goal one minute before the end of the match. I got catapulted into the air and whirled with the crowd in a sweaty and passionate embrace that lasted all through the night.

The Saints, a new installation by New-York artist Paul Pfeiffer, is capturing the transportation of the crowd in the full heat of a football match. Taking place in an empty warehouse, in the shadow of the new Wembley stadium, it recreates the ambiance of the game through the recording of the viewers’ re-action. It is loud, incredibly primal, both humbling and terrifying. Not having experienced a game in-situ myself, I was not expecting a memory revival trip. However, I felt that the imagination of what could have been made the experience even stronger in me, standing alone in this huge, empty space. It did revive bits of my 1998 tribal night and took me to other places too, in the arena with the lions in Rome, in a rave or in a pit with hundreds of heads screaming and bodies jumping to the rocking and rolling sounds of some contemporary musical goddess. An electrifying meditation on the power of the masses and of recollection through sound memories.


~ by lavivette on October 13, 2007.

One Response to “Reverberating memories on a field of play”

  1. Hi Viv, maybe the antithesis of supporters crammed to together chanting, is Marcus Coates’s Out of Season, 2000. It explores the loneliness and absurdity of a single support singing and chanting on a wooded hill. Coates touches on the primal urges that drive the supporter. To watch, it’s at the same time funny and profound.

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