Real-time, site-specific media performance-installation
Centre de production Daïmõn (Gatineau, QC)
Creation residency: March/October 2009, performance October 28
Performance duration: 6 hours
The premise of the project is the displacement of the performer from an audience which is offered real-time information about his behaviour through an amplified sound and video display. The performer investigates spaces in the La Filature building not accessible to the audience; representations of these actions are collected live by a system of cameras and microphones and relayed to the audience in a separate space.
The title ciné-cave refers to the embedding of the performance site in the earth under the main floor of the La Filature building, and to the use of (real-time) image technologies to structure and mediate the relationship of one space to another.
The performance scenario involves a series of repetitive actions carried out by a hidden performer who moves between an attic-like room and a basement. The audience, located in the Studio (Daïmõn's "black box" presentation space), hears sounds and sees images produced by the activity of the performer who moves a kind of "camera-wheelbarrow" between a series of reference points established in the basement.
Six video cameras mounted on this apparatus were switched sequentially to a video projection visible to the audience in the Studio presentation space. The video cameras were aimed so as to offer only glimpses of the performer's movement around the wheelbarrow; their frame of reference would shift significantly as the wheelbarrow was moved.
At each of the reference points, the performer takes a Polaroid photograph of objects present in the basement, using a medium-format camera attached to the wheelbarrow. The sound of the camera's shutter release is amplified for the audience, along with other sounds made by the performer. After taking each Polaroid photograph, the performer carries it up from the basement to the attic space via a hidden staircase, where he locates the site of the photographic exposure on an architectural plan of the basement.
The Polaroid photographs themselves occasionally appear within a projected video image of the drafting table - their images developing as their locations are plotted. During this activity in the attic, the performer's silhouette appears as a shadow in its translucent window, which is visible to the audience in the Studio below.
The performer's silhouette acts as an optical index of his presence, reinforcing an awareness that the images and sounds seen by the audience are not recorded, but are in fact being generated live by a hidden presence (the performer) in an adjacent but inaccessible space only a few metres away.