Marie Chouinard, Cantique 3
Cantique 3 (2004)
Marie Chouinard, Cantique 3 (2004)
Courtesy of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Marie Chouinard, Cantique 3
Cantique 3 (2004)
Players animating the performers on screen in Cantique 3 (2004)
Courtesy of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Marie Chouinard, Cantique 3
Cantique 3 (2004) (video)

Marie Chouinard, S.T.A.B.
S.T.A.B. (1986)
Marie Chouinard in S.T.A.B. (1986)
Courtesy of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard
Marie Chouinard
Born in Quebec City (Quebec) in 1955
Lives and works in Montreal (Quebec)

A choreographer, dancer and performer, Marie Chouinard produced an entire series of works that originated with filmed choreography featuring faces, grimaces and voices: Cantique 1 (2003) (1) and Cantique 2 (2003), the latter a multi-screen film, and the work we are presenting in our exhibition, Cantique 3 (2004), which uses an interactive device to allow spectators to set in motion the two actors on the screen. Chouinard is clearly one of Quebec’s most unique artists. The path she has taken has been via the body, from her first solo pieces, such as Cristallisation in 1978, to S.T.A.B. (1986) and L’après-midi d’un faune (1987), all offered as performance art as well as dance. This path also encompasses her recent choreography, so surprising in the eclectic physical techniques of her gestural repertoire: bODY_rEMIX/les_ vARIATIONS_ gOLBERG (2005), a group choreography, and Étude nº 1 (2001), a solo dance. And while she has not performed on the stage since the early 1990s when she founded Compagnie Marie Chouinard, we have been fortunate enough to view in 1998, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Les Solos 1978-1998, a retrospective of her pieces, revived by Chouinard herself and danced by a member of her company. This retrospective helped us understand to what extent the work of Chouinard is rooted in the body – a body, which, driven by its own intelligence, is capable of expression and genuineness.

Cantique 3 is an interactive apparatus that allows spectators to play with the images and sounds of a choreography of heads, facial expressions and onomatopoeia; language that is at once of the body, mouth and tongue – this underappreciated and somewhat taboo muscle. Yet, this over-present body, in the tense efforts of the neck and tongue, eases to become a cantata of sorts, as two spectators, who play a type of digital keyboard (two touch-screens), trigger an acoustic poem, its rhythm meted out by their playing. Each plays with the gallery of images, sounds and voices associated with one of the two characters, and by varying the rhythms and arrhythmia, a strange two-person dialogue takes shape – a “dialogue-cantata,” as Chouinard calls it. This installation, which is, in itself, a sort of real-time editing instrument, uses granular synthesis and video sequence loops of the dancers’ performances. Micro gestures and sounds are highly pronounced, showing us the “commotion and rhythms of communication.” (2) Chouinard pulls from human language and the body the inchoative, the pre-verbal, that which microanalysis of movement renders visible and audible, this stirring of the body through expression.

J.G. © FDL 2007

(1) Presented in the Museum auditorium; please see film and video program for details.
(2) Loose translation. Original quote in French: “les émois et les rythmes de la communication.” Compagnie Marie Chouinard: Cantique nº 3: Installation participative (Montreal: Compagnie Marie Chouinard, 2004). DVD video (3 min., 30 sec.).
Work on display

Cantique 3 (2004)

Interactive apparatus, projector, two touchscreen panels, computer, sound system
Composer and programmer: Louis Dufort
Additional programmation: Nick Bugayev
Performers: Benoît Lachambre, Carol Prieur
Collection of the artist


Marie Chouinard is a choreographer, dancer, performer, and occasional set, costume, sound and light designer. In 1990, she ended a solo career to form her own dance company, Compagnie Marie Chouinard.

Since Cristallisation (1978), her first solo creation, produced in collaboration with artist Rober Racine, Chouinard has continually explored the boundaries of the body, breath, and voice in choreography that has a profound impact on her audiences. Other examples include Lune de Saturne (1980), Marie Chien Noir (1982), and l’Après-midi d’un faune (1987). During this period, she was awarded two prestigious prizes in Canada: the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize and the Jean A. Chalmers Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. These performances were presented during world tours at multiple festivals, and many are still presented today. Chouinard and the dancers in her company have been honoured by a number of institutions, including the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) and the Société des auteurs et des compositeurs dramatiques (Paris). In 2006, she won the Grand prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal for bODY_ rEMIX/les_ vARIATIONS_ gOLBERG (2005).

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Daniel Langlois Foundation