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Cie Allerlei, Grenoble

by Dylan Perrenoud


















Italian mannerist Sebastiano Serlio (1475 – c. 1554) is the father European scenography. He is also one of the most interesting characters of perspective theory, following the crucial work of Leon Battista Alberti and Piero della Francesca. Serlio mastered the scenic illusion of three dimensional trompe l’oeil like none before.

The work that perhaps best presented Serlio’s principles was Andrea Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, constructed between 1580 and 1585. Perspective developed as a science of representation and rigorous point of view compositions, close to mathematics. No space was left for subjective perception. Accuracy of geometrical constructions was, during these first years of perspective theories, the key to comprehensive perception.

In the twentieth century, the central device that has acquired the role of representing reality and forging public opinions has undoubtedly been the television and its implicit aesthetics. The culture of television has lived through the century, transforming perceptions and perspectives. It has become, just before the advent of the World Wide Web, a stage for reality within the domestic realm.

Perception has historically evolved in accordance to the technological development of media, understood here as a tool used to store and deliver information or data. The question is, can perception be manipulated for political purposes? Can the medium call for specific aesthetics that dictates perception? And finally, in a period of crisis, how do the media react to power?

The stage of En Cas de Necessite absolue, Lâche La Bride (In Case of Absolute Necessity, Let It Go) is an open space for these interrogations. A series of geometric frames specifically built for the different sequence of the play supports a set of images. Working as a modern trompe l’oeil, the images are collages of TV game or political shows. The sequences are destroyed as the play advances. At the dramatic end of the show, the stage is left only with the naked geometry of steel structures, the floor filled by the leftovers of destroyed paper images.

The structure follows strictly classical perspective composition, stating thus its filiation to classical scenography. Yet, to this classicism, is attached a living decors made out of cheap paper prints presenting the allegedly innocent TV shows aesthetics. The juxtaposition of classical order to modern television visuals looks confusingly natural, as if the two where made for each other. The question stays: is perspective, understood here as the creation of a point of view, a tool for orienting or even dictating public opinion? Or does it need to be constantly decomposed and examined?



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