YOUR DEAREST SECRET ISLAND (working title) - A Flatscreen Tv Ballet -
Author: Pauline Payen
Dancers/performers: Jelena Alempijevic, Alice Chauchat and Pauline Payen.
Technical and artistic support: Hanna Kritten Tangsoo
Camera: Hanna Kritten Tangsoo (video-work) and Hikaru Suzuki (stage recording)
'Women in the happy-haunted-house'
How do social stereotypes haunt us daily, how much do they affect our bodies, our dreams?
In the fourth chapter of Sound as a Weapon (2011), Juliette Volcler mentions that to deprive someone of her or his senses, techniques of both deprivation and saturation are effective: obscurity or blinding light, antisepsis or stink, total silence or permanent noise.
I would like to draw a parallel to Marie-Jose Mondzain's argument in her book Can Images Kill (2008):
The right distance or the place of the spectator is a political question. Violence resides in the systematic violation of distance. This violation results from the spectacular strategies that blur,
whether intentionally or not, the distinction of space and bodies, in order to produce a confused continuum where all chance of alterity is lost. [...] What is too close to the eyes cannot be seen, and what is too close to the ears cannot be heard. (Mondzain, 2008: 24)
In my own research, I am interested in the gap between the present body and its representation, the profane body and its idealization, the relationship between face and interface.
During this scene, two intriguing black buckets fall from the roof, calling the performers on stage from the tribune. Curtains open and close until the image of my assistants appear. The audience cannot see their actual bodies anymore, but flat-screen TVs playing video-recordings of them. A 'ballet of TVs’ then develops throughout the scene. A choreography between camera movements, dancers’ movements in the videos, and the TVs’ movements (manipulated live on stage by those same performers). The effect produced is inspired by the Dolly Zoom effect used famously by Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo.
The dancers' movement-research derivates from ASMR YouTube videos that specifically use role-play and personal attention in order to offer pleasure and relaxation to viewers. In this investigation, the focus is the clichéd image of a woman that ‘takes care’ of others. Soft spoken, graceful, she embodies the fantasy of a stereotypical idea of femininity. I ask, what intentions are at play in this personal attention? Persistent gentle whispering, chronic flickering of the fingers... I was interested to explore attenuated manipulation dynamics.
As Mondzain argues in her book, a screen is at the same time a medium and a shield. To me the screens' multiplication in contemporary societies emphasize the haunting aspect of repetitive images.
If spectators of a crime become criminals, it is because they are no longer spectators. What makes one stupid, also makes one malicious. Under the 'identificatory' and fusional regime, even the spectacle of virtue can make one a criminal just as the spectacle of beauty can give rise to the worst hideousness. This is the real violence; it is the murder of thought by tyrannical images. Holy images have not prevented some from becoming murderous Inquisitors. (Mondzain, 2008: 28)