In Camera (No Exit) is the French artist Guillaume Paris’ first exhibition a MOCA London.
Paris is presenting a new computer generated conversation piece based on Jean-Paul Sartre’s play « No Exit ».
GARCIN: For ever, and ever, and ever.
(A long silence.)
GARCIN: Well, well, let's get on with it...
Ever wondered what went on after the curtain fell on these famous last words? The project In Camera (No Exit) explores what that reality might be, night and day, endlessly.
In Camera is the literal translation of the French expression « huis clos ». The eponimous existential play by Jean-Paul Sartre from 1944 is however generally translated in English as « No Exit ».
I have for over a decade thought of (re)enacting No Exit with virtual actors, computer generated spectres, created in real time and sentenced to eternity, Guillaume Paris.
The play features 3 characters in hell. They are confined in a room and punished for their various crimes by being stuck with each other: « hell is other people » as one of the characters concludes, referring to their respective inability to leave each other alone - and to silence their inner voices. An inability to stop suffering. (cf Wiki – quoted bellow).
Although not quite in the French «Second Empire» style, the exhibition space at MOCA London, with its toned down, whitened domesticity, seemed the perfect environment to feature the piece. The space, in combination with the ambient Brexit/No Brexit anguished climate at the time Paris visited MOCA, brought to mind the Sartre play, in a combination of word association and physical context.
In Camera (No Exit) features the 3 characters – two women and a man (NB: the Valet having performed his job, he is removed from the play). Stripped to their essence, voices embodied as lips in high-resolution CG and a black custom-made computer visible as the unified body/brain of the 3 dis-jointed mouths. They are lip-synched in real time to the text. The voices are also CG: synthesized voices, neutralising acting affect.
The CG “nature” of all constituents is congruent to their living dead, ghostly status. The inhuman temporality of the set up (permanent and endless) embodies the otherworldly nature of their predicament.
The computer itself is programmed to never repeat the same combination of speech and image twice. It will however periodically, re-synch the original play. Alteration of the original material can occur as a remix of the original order of the text, but also changes in pacing, diction and silences. The system is “alive” and unpredictable. It features a custom 3D engine. It is intended to play continuously, 24hrs a day.
In the play, the protagonists progressively stop blinking - some no longer have eyelids, having no use for it: they are dead and the light is always on.
Link to ebook
The exhibition opens in conjunction with Nature Morte: Contemporary Still life at Guildhall Art Gallery London where Guillaume Paris’s piece Out of the Whale is exhibited.
7 September 2017 – 2 April 2018.
Wiki (extract) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Exit: No Exit (French: Huis Clos, pronounced: [ɥi klo]) is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. (…) The play begins with three characters who find themselves waiting in a mysterious room. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people", a reference to Sartre's ideas about the look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object from the view of another consciousness.
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