Re: [-empyre-] Merleau-Ponty weighs in on Nicolas Clauss' "Nocturne"

Hello Barbara,

Thanks for your questions.

> You do not state it explicitly, but experiencing the work "Nocturne" makes
> me conscious of the hand of the viewer whose interactive gesture "reads"
> work. The hand that holds the mouse becomes an extension of the "eye". The
> imagery becomes a kind of Braille that the hand reads to assist the eye.
> Is there a hierarchy in this way of understanding "Nocturne", i.e., the
> of the interactor is the "hand-maiden" of vision (of your vision)? Then
> would that be true in painting too, where the composition leads the eye as
> function of the painter's vision?
> When the viewer of "Nocturne" uses the hand-gesture with the mouse (an
> otherwise useless gesture, linguistically-speaking), isn't this an
> creation of narrative space?

I like the idea that you developped here about the hand serving the work and
the mouse as an extension of the "eye". Nocturne
( which is minor work is
about revealing the surface of the painting and erasing it. It is a tension
between the moving picture and the permanency of the painting.

> 2.
> When the interactive applet "De l'art si je veux" is dependent on the
> instrumental actions of sitting in a chair or walking across a bridge, how
> do those gestures push further a dialog with the images on the screen
> further than was already available in the shockwave movie)?

"De l'art si je veux" shows kids experimenting the making of art in working
on famous artist's works. They are experimenting and they are talking about
it and how they understand or feel about the artists featuring in the

In the case of Bacon's tableau, you can see three kids when
you click on the left stain you can hear what they say about Bacon and about
their thought and feeling in re-working his paintings (by inserting their
face in it and distording them on photoshop), they explain that in
distording their face they thought they were monsters then they say that it
is probably what Bacon wanted to express, that we are all monsters (they
talk about greed, selfishness...).

for this tableau online you play with your mouse and stroke the faces that
are distorded, you go from on kid to the other by moving the mouse on the
sides and you zoom or unzoom by clicking.

for the installation (made with Jean-Noel Montagne), you will sit in an
armchair which has the look of the chair in which Bacon's figures are
sitting, the chair will stand on a red carpet (the red of the painting), you
will sit facing the screen (a retro projected screen 3x2 meters) and by
moving your bottom backward and forward, left and right (plus the impulsion
on the arms of the chair) you will make the work move. zoom when forward,
unzoom for backward, left for left and so one.

The interactivity will be slightly different, the sentence will come
randomly for instance but the main idea is to put the spectator in front of
a kind of mirror which questions their own monstruosity.

For the bridge, it is about The Scream by Munch, the kids have interviewed
the public of the art center about what they see in the painting and then
asked them to imitate Munch's screamer for the videocamera.

The spectator will walk on the bridge which is a copy of the bridge in the
painting. At the end of the bridge will be some kind of lace on which are
projected the people talking about Munch. Then, a few meters behind, will be
a large screen, retro-projected showing the background The floor and the ramp when
they are touched modify the work.

Here again it is about puting the spectator in the painting to experiment
it, to think of it and to think about his or her own inner scream.

Well I don't know if the all thing push further a dialog with the images on
the screen, it is a different approach.
On the web project the viewer has an intimate relation with the work, in the
installation, he or she is "inside" the work which is far bigger than them.
and to answer the last question I don't think the spatial experience will
minimize the intensity of the dialog, the dialog will be different, the work
is anyway programmed differently for both forms.

> 3.
> Based on your experimentation in preparing for the installation, is it
> possible that the fully spatial experience of the work will minimize the
> intensity of the viewer's dialog with the screen image? What do you see
> emerging in place of that previous form of interactive dialog?

> Barbara

Nicolas Clauss

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