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Dimecres  12.02.2014  08:51

Franc Aleu: 'We work to excite and to shift people’s consciences.'

The director of 'El Somni' presented the film on Monday at Berlinale 2014 with Celler Can Roca's Josep Roca


The top rated restaurant in the world, El Celler de Can Roca, and the audiovisual artist Franc Aleu are behind 'El somni' [The Dream], a project conceived as an opera in twelve acts, with a fusion of artistic talents. 'A dream,' they say, 'through twelve emotions that bring us to the dinner table where we'll celebrate this meal in which food and video combine to create a new artistic medium.'

Dinner is the centerpiece of 'El Somni' and twelve is the leitmotif. 'Twelve is the number that is repeated throughout the twelve acts into which the opera is divided: twelve tastes, twelve wines, and the twelve select diners who sit at a round table that is like the twelve hours on a clock or the twelve times the moon goes around the earth each year. The number twelve is cosmic and kabbalistic, perfect and unitary, with the twelve signs of the zodiac representing twelve constellations that outline the path that the Earth makes in search of the Sun, each year, every twelve months. Twelve is noon and midnight, it is a dozen, of eggs and apostles.'

'The 12 diners eat 12 dishes created by Joan and Jordi Roca, paired with 12 wines chosen by Josep Roca, 12 reflections of thinkers and poets, 12 pieces of music, 12 videos, 12 place settings, 12 ideas, and one card game, spread over each of the moments of this 12-act dinner, of this opera in 12 dishes. All of the audiovisual creations that are projected articulate the content of a libretto conceived by Franc Aleu with the Celler de Can Roca restaurant, developed from a powerful creative tool: the Cartes Barcelona [Barcelona Cards], which they created together with the illustrator Peret. And with the collaboration of the 'Pollywogs', the robotic musicians created by the mechanical engineer and set designer Roland Olbeter. These cyborg musicians are the resident string quartet and the band that serves as the accompanist to the musical creations solicited from various composers. These mechanical creatures play without needing to be played, and are able to compose musical variations by themselves.'

Besides the dinner, the project also includes two exhibits, a movie, and a book. One of the exhibits was shown in the cloister of the Sant Monica Arts Center in Barcelona in 2013 and was divided into twelve areas that correspond to the twelve episodes in the dream. And the 'Cartes Barcelona' were exhibited in the Sala Ciutat earlier that year. The Cartes Barcelona were the source of inspiration for El Somni and the medium by which the twelve acts for the libretto of this work were composed.

Franc Aleu and Josep Roca showed the movie El Somni in the Cuisine section of the Berlin International Film Festival on February 10, 2014. They made a special dessert for the two hundred people who filled the theatre: a sourdough ice cream that signifies coming back to life after death.

In this short #CatalanTalk interview, Franc Aleu answers a few questions about El Somni and his work.