Interview — 3rd mandate

 It's only by growing and maintaining that things can be invented.

— You're now approaching your third term, what are your plans for the future?

I’m proud of the project we’ve managed to develop and roll out. You always want to do something new, most of the time because you're caught up in this belief in novelty, but what matters most to me today is not so much inventing as maintaining. I think I've actually shifted the paradigm: it's only by growing and maintaining that things can be invented. There's a very strong relationship between living and maintaining, and that's where forward-looking ideas can be developed.

— Would you say that your involvement in directing ICI-CCN has shifted your creative approach and, conversely, that your creative work has inspired a particular leadership style?
Yes, I think that's the whole point of allowing an artist to run an institution. I think the project I'm leading for ICI-CCN is very similar to a creative process. You come up with hypotheses, you try them out and you see how they perform, how they could develop through the form they can take and the content they are based on. I feel like I've been "in production" for almost seven years, although there are of course guidelines and objectives, but I see them more as a roadmap. Walking around and finding the right environment for it, that's really more of a process for me. On the other hand, there are some things that have really changed in the way I work, primarily because I work much more often in one specific place instead of being constantly on the move. There's another kind of focus to the work, an intensity that isn't diluted by constant mobility. Constantly changing locations is extremely draining, so I'm fortunate enough now to be able to bring all this creative work together in one place. And it's a place that frequently welcomes other artists. So I feel much less isolated and that’s very important to me. I can always access other works and people can access my work, which makes the extremely solitary aspect of the creative process much less daunting. It's something I'm very fond of, but now I've discovered another kind of porosity, that supports and responds to the world around us.

— Which of the hypotheses put forward in recent years for the ICI-CCN project would you like to see further developed?
There are two main areas that are particularly important to me and that initially led me to approach a choreographic centre. First of all it's the support for the artists, at several levels: programming, in the context of residencies or sometimes in a more informal way, whether locally, nationally or even internationally. Thanks to the repeated support of our sponsors, since 2017 we have been able to professionally integrate ten young artists, who now live and work in Montpellier, via the master's programme and the establishment of various partnerships. This is a powerful message, because people often think that young artists who come here to train then inevitably leave again afterwards. But thanks to the way we have worked with them and the contacts we have made, there is now a new wave of young choreographic artists in Montpellier. The CCN is actively involved in building a diverse choreographic landscape in the region. Secondly, I want to maintain everything we have developed in terms of our relationship with the public. Everything produced at the CCN will have an impact on the public regardless. This oscillation or balance between the invisible, the studio, the unseen, the process and the quest for ways of sharing this “hidden” aspect is extremely important to me. It's crucial to an institution, particularly a public facing one. These two themes are still at the heart of the project, with the aim of fostering a very close relationship between the work, the process and the practice. This makes it possible to have three ways of welcoming artists, as well as three ways of being a member of the public and a user of the choreographic centre, i.e. being able to experience a work, to witness a process and also to take part. It's always a matter of looking for choreographic forms and how they can be expressed. In the coming years, there will be a particular focus on the relationship between the artistic movement and the artisanal movement, as well as on the place of narratives in choreography and the flexibility between the community and the individual. These questions will be tackled by the numerous women's collectives and guest artists invited to join the 21-22 season. We know that dance is one of the key areas of choreography, but it is by no means the only one: there are also skills and practices with a choreographic element. We will be sharing all of these thoughts and questions with the artists, the public and of course the CCN team. My hope is that this project does not become a statement, but remains a question.


— Christian Rizzo, July 2021 / Interview by Noëmie Charrié