Hanne Lippard draws us into her unique soundworld, narrating life in Paris through an un-sentimental but ultimately deeply moving audio diary, making use of seemingly humdrum observations for a layered, phonetically mesmerising work of art apt for this anomalous time.
If you’re new to Lippard’s work; she’s a conceptual artist of some significant acclaim, usually concerned with the mechanics of language and meaning. Her ‘Work’ album last year was our first introduction, an unusual collection of spoken texts playing on what she calls ‘degenerate, or “b-language” - things like autoresponders, FAQ’s, social media posts, bot-generated spam mail etc. Part social commentary, part visual poetry, it lingered in the mind thru some linguistic voodoo we couldn’t quite fathom, and has been on regular rotation since.
In contrast, ‘PigeonPostParis’ plays like a ramblin’, diaristic travelogue; Hanne observes and navigates Paris through a summer of lockdown, following a train of thought starting from a newfound appreciation of pigeons, to the restlessness of daily life in a small apartment, and the difficulties of understanding, and being understood, when speaking french - a language that doesn’t care for the first letter of her first name - with a mask on.
Where ‘Work’ drew from the digital realm, PigeonPostParis ponders the world just outside her window - pigeon’s shagging - to gain a new perspective on the city’s detested/beloved air rats. But that’s just the conceptual touch paper for a stream of consciousness, fringed with the sounds of everyday life under lockdown, from the violence of a passing skateboard to an ironic lick of the Amélie theme, intertwined with a precise, alliterative investigation of her own physical, spiritual displacement.
Once you peer through the syntax, you discover existential blisters. Hanne distills our - mood - in a way that never feels sentimental, mirroring the way our thoughts have tended to meander late at night, after weeks of barely interacting with anyone - honing in on mundane details, then big important ones. Let’s quickly move past those.