The Old Cinema
“Cinéma” was a performance which took place over three days in the space of the Société des art technologique (SAT). An audience seated indoors in theatre seating facing out through windows towards a public square watched a series of ambient actions repeated on varying cycles. These action were hardly discernable from the ‘normal’ events going on in the park (drug dealing, skate-boarding, hanging out): a man swept up garbage with a pan and broom; another arrived on a bicycle, locks it and runs away (repeats); another performer re-enacts the gestures of a Palestinian suicide bomber as he disarms himself at gunpoint; a musician plays kalimba on a bench, chatting with a policeman. Each night a sound mix was generated using material recorded in the park at other times, mixed with live material picked up in microphones in the park. The piece was often intervened upon, or completed, by actions of the users of the park interacting with the performers, or the police arriving , for example. I have decided to re-score this piece and present it again using a similar apparatus in public space. The first version of the piece was so complex that I hardly had time to understand the rapid unfolding of events on each night. I learned much about the complex dynamics of performance in public space. This new version is a chance to take the piece further.
What to do In the Black Box
So the original ‘Cinema’ was a perceptual apparatus like a camera — a room opened towards the world through sound and light. Not only was the audience able to watch what was going on outside, they also heard a soundscape ‘pulled-in’ by microphones located in various places (on the musicians instrument, on the dust-pand of the sweeper). This was a live mix each night. So the box of the theatre is like a camera. It is a black box with an aperture out onto the public space. The new exploration that could be done in our underground black box is to think about ways, other than the visual, to sense and rebuild another space. If the black box has no window (as we know) how do we ‘see’ out. in this space how can we experience something happening elsewhere. This could be a live demonstration or simply us making a mock-up of what would be an audience experience. How could we ‘spatialize’ this intentionally neutral space.