Scenography for a room

In August 2007 we went on a 5 week excursion to Iceland and the Faeroe Islands.  The journey was our first island expedition in a series of excursions called the “Island Tour”. The idea is to visit a series of islands in search of Utopia / Paradise Lost and everything in between. This also provides the backdrop for this proposal at the Palais de Tokyo.

Out. Cold  is a robinsonade. Action is determined by the limitations and possibilities available in the space – much like being stranded on a deserted island and making out place and situation and new possibilities for survival.[1] We use objects we find or that can relate to the situation that we explore. A drama consisting of a theater of events where the spectator is both witness and actor.

“Porte des Clichés”

The Italian theater and the Commedia della arte tradition is a starting point. The framework of a traveling company performing a known story with predefined roles. Repeated actions become related to language – have names that we know and associate with.

A new language, a new society.

It’s in fact very much like a cliché[2] - word (i.e. action) that has been overused to the point that is no longer bears its original intent or force of meaning. The word cliché is also related to a literary tradition (like theater and conceptual art) through printmaking where metal blocks of letters were reused for popular expressions (see stereotype). The proposal is a series of sculptural clichés that can by their apparent strangeness and awkwardness in the space provide us with a new method of relating to art and artistic practice.

What is left is a sort of scenography of a play that has been realized or is about to get realized, like our new island settlers that discover remnants of a lost culture and tries to associate with the past (represented by the objects) to divine their new reality to be[3]. The past becomes the present and the new present a determinant of an unknown future[4].

In French, the greater Paris area is also referred to as an island; Isle de France. Each entrance to the city is marked by a gate (fr. porte). Lets take a drive out of town to the abandoned villages on its outskirts -where the great legends of modern art themselves used to live.


[1] Imagine being forced to live in a gallery space for the rest of your life condemned to the white space prison cell structure with no possibilities of escape.

[2] Most modern soap opera builds on the pillars of Commedia della arte.

[3] An example is the  Megalithic culture in Corse, which mysteries still remain to be unraveled.

[4] When Fletcher Christian and his crew of mutineers reached Pictairn, John Williams proclaimed to the newly self proclaimed  captain of the Bounty “Paradise on Starboard sir. “That depends on us” Christian replied.