Lee and Frank Dufour have culture cred — they met in Paris in the mid ’90s, when the digital art gallery Lee owned in the 6th arrondissement hosted a launch party for Sale Temps, a multimedia interactive novel co-written by Frank, a sound engineering whiz.
Lee’s previous gigs include a PR position at the Yves Saint Laurent couture house “at a time when Monsieur Saint Laurent graced the halls on a daily basis,” she says, before becoming assistant art director to French designer Sonia Rykiel.
Frank, who holds a Ph.D. in hypermedia from the University of Paris VIII, spent 10 years restoring historical recordings in the French National Radio archive.
“Deeply enshrined in my memory is the work of [French philosopher] Gaston Bachelard,” he says. “For about a year every day, I walked into my studio to encounter his distinct voice, talking from 1952 to 1954, about philosophy in such touching, precise, yet very simple terms.”
Now they’re based in Dallas, where Frank is a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas and Lee is vice president of marketing and communications for luxury French textiles brand Yves Delorme.
The duo runs Agence 5970, an independent lab that creates artwork and produces installations focused on themes of time and memory. Their latest project, dreamSpace, premieres in May at the third annual Soluna International Music & Arts Festival at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
A site-specific, audio-visual installation, dreamSpace features choreography by UT Dallas Ph.D. candidate Sherri Segovia and dancers from The Bruce Wood Dance Project draped in wearable poetry — clothing fashioned by Dallas designer Charles Smith II.
“We needed a designer who understood the very essence of movement,” Lee says. “Charles’ sport-couture approach to design was perfect.”
Read aloud by audience members during the performance, most of the text on the clothing comes from Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space and Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement, intended to function as a portal to the paradoxical space where imagination and reality collide.
Watching dreamSpace is indeed an ethereal experience; a workshop preview of the piece in March proved hauntingly beautiful and triggered an almost trance-like state of mind.
The Dufours’ project combines their distinct talents in visual art direction, sound design, video production, and programming, and the result provides the elusive sensation of remembering a dream.
“When we talked about this project with friends,” Frank says, “we realized how much people love to share their dreams, talk about their dreams, help someone else imagine their own dreams. It is a deeply felt sensation of sharing something so intimate.”
dreamSpace, Wednesday, May 24, 9 pm, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.