Hélène Baril was born in the French Alps, but grew up by the sea, the same part of Brittany frequented by the great filmmaker/biologist Jean Painlevé, who among other things, practiced filming under the sea. After getting an MA in literature, Hélène quit her job teaching French to study art. Moving to Finland, she began a career painting houses, purposely confusing the work of fine arts and decoration. Recently, she’s been developing a “tale” involving racecars. In 2011, she created Orlandus Gallery, inspired by a fictional Finnish painter and racing car driver from the early 1800s. The artist also served as inspiration for SBK, an experimental collaborative Hélène founded in 2012, which uses a car for meetings, projects, and as a working tool. Constructing its name and logo after Shell Oil, SBK is “an allegorical and poetic initiative,” whose sphere of operation touches literature, geography, economy, environmentalism, and popular psychology. In 2013 she started a collaboration with anthropologist Michael Taussig in what they call their Sea Theater. Hélène’s work is a fairy tale aimed at confusing real and fictional worlds, or simply encountering the one into the other.

www.sbkland.com (racing car tale)


a poem by W.H. Audren

Many Happy Returns
(for John Rettger)

Johnny, since to-day is
February the twelfth when
Neighbours and relations
Think of you and wish,
Though a staunch Aquarian,
Graciously accept the
Verbal celebrations
Of a doubtful Fish.

Seven years ago you
Warmed your mother's heart by
Making a successful
Début on our stage;
Naïveté's an act that
You already know you
Cannot get away with
Even at your age.

So I wish you first a
Sense of theatre; only
Those who love illusion
And know it will go far:
Otherwise we spend our
Lives in a confusion
Of what we say and do with
Who we really are.

You will any day now
Have this revelation:
"Why, we're all like people
Acting in a play."

And will suffer, Johnny,
Man's unique temptation
Precisely at the moment
You utter this cliché.

Remember if you can then,
Only the All-Father
Can change the cast or give them
Easier lines to say;
Deliberate interference
With others for their own good
Is not allowed the author
Of the play within The Play.

Just because our pride's an
Evil there's no end to,
Birthdays and the arts are
Justified, for when
We consciously pretend to
Own the earth or play at
Being gods, thereby we
Own that we are men.

As a human creature
You will all too often
Forget your proper station,
Johnny, like us all;
Therefore let your birthday
Be a wild occasion
Like a Saturnalia
Or a Servants'Ball.

What else shall I wish you?
Following convention
Shall I wish you Beauty,
Money, Happiness?
Or anything you mention?
No, for I recall an
Ancient proverb: - Nothing
Fails like a success.

What limping devil sets our
Head and heart at variance,
That each time the Younger
Generation sails,
The old and weather-beaten
Deny their own experience
And pray the gods to send them
Calm seas, auspicious gales?

I'm not such an idiot
As to claim the power
To peer into the vistas
Of your future, still

I'm prepared to guess you
Have not found your life as
Easy as your sister's
And you never will.

If I'm right about this,
May you in your troubles,
Neither (like so many
In the U.S.A)
Be ashamed of any
Suffering as vulgar,
Nor bear them like a hero
In the biggest way.

All the possibilities
It had to reject are
What give life and warmth to
An actual character;
The roots of wit and charm tap
Secret springs and sorrow,
Every brilliant doctor
Hides a murderer.

Then, since all self-knowledge
Tempts man into envy,
May you, by acquiring
Proficiency in what
Whitehead calls the art of
Negative Prehension,
Love without desiring
All that you are not.

Tao is a tightrope,
So to keep your balance,
May you always, Johnny,
Manage to combine
Intellectual talents
With a sensual gusto,
The Socratic Doubt with
The Socratic Sign.

That is all that I can
Think of at this moment
And it's time I brought these
Verses to a close:
Happy Birthday, Johnny,
Live beyond your income,
Travel your enjoyment,
Follow your own nose.

W.H.  Audren
February 1942



Who still know the room where he raised his first cry, where he witnessed a last breath?"
Louis Veuillot, Les Odeurs de Paris


Last events spring 2014

We played The Sea Theater at

Haverford College, Philadelphia, on april 23rd 2014

Cooper Union, New-York, on april 14th 2014

Here is a review by Alice Colverd who attended the performance in NY.

Alice Colverd


I don’t know where to start this was fantastic! Who indeed has the strength to reimagine the bodily unconscious? What are the politics of freedom for the ritualised subject (ritual as socially prescribed and formalised behaviour through which the individual habitus is formed) who wishes to unlearn the mastery of nature? New rituals.

Bourdieu's notion of the habitus is defined as an unconscious and embodied “system of

durable dispositions”, which “produces practices which tend to reproduce the regularities immanent in the objective conditions of the production of their generative principle, while adjusting to the demands inscribed by objective potentialities in the situation”. His argument is that this system of dispositions, which operates outside of conscious control and discourse, is acquired through taking part in ritualised social activities (particularly in childhood), and likens this mode of acquisition to that of 'techniques of the body’. Bourdieu is not affecting a determinist position suggesting that each individual reaction is a simple mechanical reproduction of its initial conditionings, but that the habitus mediates the orientations and limits of the operations of invention.

A good starting point I suppose is to practice what you preach. To see a self-professed academic perform or embody his text through a ritualistic display of sounds, images, and smells was mesmeric and gave me (and I dare say the rest of the audience) a wildly visceral experience. I tasted the sea when he bit into that shrimp.

The drawings were otherworldly, almost reminiscent of lots of things but never quite triggering a conscious memory, I found them to be totally unique. They had an incredible movement or fluidity to them - shadow, light, water, bodies. It seemed that Helene had found a way of answering the question Mick posed of how the imaginary relates to the real when we inhabit a changed, sanitised reality. Contrary to being any kind of illustration I felt that they were able to create an inviting and immersive space around the words. A film with a live score that smelt of oranges (from far away).

The call to reinvent a way of representing the awesome forces that are indefinable as we are approaching the end. The imagination as a social force to reconfigure the real has been on the table since the time of Descartes. Terms such as “Global Warming” and “Big Data” aren’t quite doing it for us. Neither is the proliferation of images of nature’s destruction (both by and of mankind). The viewer of these images, from the detached position of the technical media itself, becomes a disinterested critic, evaluating the reproduced object merely in terms of its presentability; that it takes place, not here but anywhere.

Sidenote: The Japanese Shinto religion is strongly connected to water and historically many important shrines were built on the sites of natural springs or along the waterfront, as well as in the villages of fishermen. Fishermen are seen to have very religious spirits because of their close relationship with nature. Both religion and folk belief posit a consequence of the fact that fish die so humans may eat (that the innocent dead may harm the living) but also provide a means to atone and avoid retribution. As the sea rises however there is no sign of atonement on the shore. The beach is crawling closer.

The horizon did not feature. 

The end of history. Benjamin's historical materialist, and the agency we are all imbued with when we view the present differently from simply a period of continual transition but rather as a moment in which we ourselves are writing history, habitus. Rimbaud’s call for a derrangement of the senses in order to make oneself a seer. 


corps simples

1. Hydrogène 2. Oxygène 3. Azote 4. Carbone 5. Phosphore 6. Soufre 7. Calcium
8. Silicium 9. Potassium 10. Sodium 11. Aluminium 12. Chlore 13. Iode 14. Fer
15. Magnésium 16. Cuivre 17. Argent 18. Plomb 19. Mercure 20. Antimoine
21. Baryum 22. Chrome 23. Brome 24. Bismuth 25. Zinc 26. Arsenic 27. Platine
28. Etain 29. Or 30. Nickel 31.  Glucinium 32. Fluor 33. Manganèse 34. Zirconium 35. Cobalt 
36. Iridium 37. Bore 38. Strontium 39. Molydbène 40. Palladium
41. Titane 42. Cadmium 43. Sélénium 44. Osmium 45. Rubidium 46. Lantane
47. Tellure 48. Tungstène 49. Uranium 50. Tantale 51. Lithium 52. Niobium
53. Rhodium 54. Didyme 55. Indium 56. Terbiu 57. Thalium 58. Thorium
59. Vanadium 60. Ytrium 61. Caesium 62. Ruthénium 63. Erbium 64. Cérium

- in Auguste Blanqui, L'éternité par les astres.