And if there, below...

Fred Périé, 2010

Interactive work

Materials, techniques and processes: computer, video projector, infra-red camera, infra-red projectors, black floor

Dimensions: projection with an image of 3 meters base

Themes: the image of our body is confronted to the actions of various characters, dressed or nude. A simple questioning on the complex subject of femininity and masculinity

And what if there, underneath… ("et si là, en-dessous…") manifests itself as a camera obscura roughly 3 m deep. The image is projected onto the ground from the ceiling. The ground is black, adding to the effect that the screen is wholly immaterial. 

The projected image comprises the real-time assembly of a set of recorded videos and the actual image of the spectator; such that, in the projected image, the projected-spectator and the characters-in-the-video are apparently trapped together under the ceiling. Everything takes place as if the scene was unfolding at a level beneath us that we can observe from an opening in the ground on which we stand. The next spectator is invited to stand in a circle on the edge of this hole, which in turn engenders a new sequence. If she moves out of the circle, the sequence stops...

All of the characters-in-the-video are duplicated - for each, there’s a naked body and a clothed one, a masculine and a feminine - and these two possibilities are selected at random. Each sequence, however, presents just one and the same comedian; present in each of the projections of the eleven participants. Thus, it’s two versions of the same body - clothed and unclothed - which mingle with the spectator: there’s no sacred body. The random selection process allows for a large combination of situations (more than 40, in fact). We cannot therefore go back and relive what we’ve already experienced. What will go on to happen might be similar to before; but, this time, it’ll be with a stranger. 

Ultimately, the interactivity is at odds with what the public’s used to. The tables turn when the character-in-the-video apparently acts freely in pushing the projected-spectator around in the room below. The spectator is free to move as she pleases; but she cannot modify the appearance of the characters-in-the-video. 


Photos and video by Fred Périé