Workshop at Cité du Cinéma next April 14th entitled : " Magic : Pratices and Discourses"
Deceptive Arts. Machines, Magic, Media
Les Arts Trompeurs. Machines, Magie, Médias.
PROJECT COORDINATORS : Jean-Marc Larrue (Université de Montréal, Grafics/CRILCQ) and Giusy Pisano (ENS Louis-Lumière, IRCAV)
INTERNAL PARTNERS OF LABEX Arts-H2H: Université Paris 8 Vincennes Saint-Denis Université́, Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Bibliothèque nationale de France.
EXTERNAL PARTNERS OF LABEX Arts-H2H: CEISME, IRCAV, LISAA.
LABEX Arts-H2H AXIS: Situations (Process and inner workings in creation; New forms of development and learning; Art, critics and society; Memory, creation, archives and collections.
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS: CRIalt et GRAFICS Université de Montréal ; CRILCQ Université de Montréal, Université Laval, UQAM ; McGill University ; Indiana University ; Université de Lausanne ; Université de Laval ; University of Michigan ; Universiteit Utrecht ; Université Western Ontario ; Humboldt Universität de Berlin
SCIENTIFIC COMMITEE : Rick Altman, Mireille Berton, Remy Besson, Laurent Creton, Geneviève De Viveiros, André Gaudreault, Erkki Huhtamo, François Jost, Frank Kessler, Martin Laliberté, Jean-Marc Larrue, Marguerite Chabrol, Isabelle Moindrot, Giusy Pisano, Matthew Solomon, Frédéric Tabet, Stéphane Tralongo.
LIST BY NAME OF COLLABORATORS
ALMIRON, Miguel, (Lecturer of Arts and Numerical Technologies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, LISAA)
ANDRE, Emmanuelle (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, HDR, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, CERILAC)
BARNIER, Martin (Professor of Cinematographic Studies, Université Lyon 2, Passages XX-XXI)
BAUDOUIN, Philippe (Responsible for implementation, France Culture, Radio France).
BERTIN-MAGHIT, Jean-Pierre (Professor of Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3/IRCAV)
DAHAN, Kevin (Lecturer of Musicology, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
CAROU, Alain (Curator, Bibliothèque Nationale de France)
CHABROL, Marguerite (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies/HDR, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense, HAR)
CHAMBAT-HOUILLON, Marie-France (Lecturer of Sciences of information and communication at l’Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3/CEISME)
CHAMBOLLE, Delphine (Lecturer of Spanish Studies, Université de Lille 3, CECILLE)
CHIRI, Sandrine (ATER in Arts and Numerical Technologies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
DÉSILE, Patrick (Researcher CNRS/ARIAS)
DI BARTOLO, Florent (Lecturer of Arts and Numerical Technologies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
DREUX, Emmanuel (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris 8, ESTCA)
DURAFOUR, Jean-Michel (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
DURNEY, Daniel (Professor of musicology, Université de Bourgogne)
FAJOLE, Florent (ENS Louis-Lumière, Head of Centre de Documentation et de Recherche)
FAROULT, David (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
FEENSTRA, Pietsie (Teacher of Cinematographic Studies /HDR, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, IRCAV)
HALIMI, Carole (Lecturer of Arts and Numerical Technologies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
GUIDO, Laurent (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Lille 3, CEAC)
HAMUS-VALLÉE, Réjane (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies/HDR /Université d’Évry-Val d’Essonne, Centre Pierre Naville)
JOST, François (Professor, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3/CEISME)
KITSOPANIDOU, Kira (Lecturer, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3/IRCAV)
LALIBERTE, Martin (Professor of Musicology, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
LAVIN, Mathias (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris 8, ESTCA)
LEDOUX, Aurèlie (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense, HAR)
LE CORFF, Isabelle (Lecturer/HDR, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, HCTI)
LE MEN, Ségolène (Professor of History Arts, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Institut universitaire de France, HAR)
ODELLO, Laura (Collège international de Philosophie/HarP)
PERRUCHON, Véronique (Lecturer of Drama Studies, Université Lille 3, CEAC)
MALTHÊTE, Jacques (Cinémathèque Méliès)
MARTIN, Pascal, (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, ENS Louis-Lumière/IRCAV)
MATHIEU-BOUILLON, Danielle (President Association de la Régie Théâtrale)
MATHON, Geneviève, (Lecturer of Musicology/HDR, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
MOINDROT, Isabelle (Professor of Drama Studies, Université Paris 8, Scènes du monde, création et savoirs critiques)
PAPAIS, Xavier (Collège international de Philosophie, École Normale Supérieure, EHESS)
PAPIN, Bernard (Lecturer of Sciences of information and communication à l’Université Paris Sud 11/CEISME)
PERRUCHON, Véronique (Lecturer of Dram Studies, Université Lille 3, CEAC)
PLASSERAUD, Emmanuel (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université de Bordeaux, MICA)
QUEVRAIN, Anne-Marie (Cinémathèque Méliès)
ROUSSEL, François (Lecturer of Sciences of Information and Communication at l’Université Paris 12/CEISME)
SAMSON, Sylvain (Research associate in Musicology, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, LISAA)
SCHEINFEIGEL Maxime (Professor of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paul Valery Montpellier, RIRRA21)
SOULEZ, Guillaume (Professor of Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3/IRCAV)
SOMAINI, Antonio (Professor of Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, LIRA)
THOUARD, Sylvie (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée/LISAA)
TOULZA, Pierre-Olivier (Lecturer of Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, CERILAC)
VOVOU, Ionna (Lecturer of Sciences of Information and Communication at l’Université Paris XIII/CEISME)
YON, Jean-Claude (Professor, Université de Versailles St-Quentin-En-Yvelines/ CHCSC).
ALTMAN, Rick (Professor of l’Université d’Iowa)
BELLOI, Livio, (Lecturer at l’Université de Liège)
BERTON, Mireille (Lecturer, Université de Lausanne)
BOURASSA, Renée (Professor, Université Laval, Québec)
BURSTON, Jonathan (Professor, Université Western Ontario)
CULPEPPER, Joseph (Affiliate Assistant Professor, Université Concordia)
DE VIVEIROS, Geneviève, (Professor, Université Western Ontario)
GAUDREAULT André (Professor, Université de Montréal)
FAGUY, Robert (Professor Université Laval, Québec)
FEASTER, Patrick (Media preservation specialist, Indiana University, Bloomington)
HUHTAMO, Erkki (Professor, UCLA Design Media Arts)
KESSLER, Frank (Professor, Universiteit Utrecht)
LENK, Sabine (Affiliated researcher at l’Universiteit Utrecht)
MARION, Philippe (Professor, École de communication de l’Université de Louvain)
PARK Heui-Tae (Teacher, Korea University)
QUEINNEC, Jean-Paul (Professor, UQAC, Chicoutimi)
SIROIS-TRAHAN, Jean-Pierre (Professor, Université Laval)
STERNE, Jonathan (Professor, McGill University, Montréal)
SOLOMON, Matthew (Professor, Université du Michigan)
TRALONGO, Stéphane (First Assistant, Université de Lausanne)
VITALI-ROSATI, Marcello (Professor, Université de Montréal)
PH.D. AND POST-DOCTORATE STUDENTS
BARRIENTOS Nadia (Ph.D. student of Art History, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre, HAR)
BAUDET, Claire (Ph.D. student of Sciences of information and communication, Research associate at CEISME)
BESSON Rémy (EHESS, post-Ph.D. student Université de Toulouse, LLA-CREATIS)
BODET, Clément (Ph.D. student in Arts & sciences, Université Aix-en- Provence)
DODET, Cyrielle (Ph.D. student in Intermediality, Université de Montréal, Research associate at CRILCQ)
DUSSAIWOIR, Vincent (Ph.D. student in Drama Studies, Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre La Défense-Université Catholique de Louvain)
FRACH, Sylwia (Ph.D. in Cinematographic Studies, research associate at IRCAV)
DE HARO SANCHEZ, Magali (post-doctorate, student of Languages and Literature, Université de Liège, CEDOPAL)
DE MONTGOLFIER, Clémence (Ph.D. student in Sciences of information and communication, Research associate at CEISME)
FRACH, Sylwia (Ph.D. in Cinematographic Studies, research associate at IRCAV)
GEFFROY, Erwan (Ph.D. student in Intermediality, Université de Montréal, Research associate at CRIALT)
GIGNAC, Mélissa (Ph.D. student in Cinematographic Studies, Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, research associate at CERILAC)
JACOPIN, Esther (Ph.D. student in Arts, SACRe-La FEMIS, École normale supérieure)
JARDON-GOMEZ, François (Ph.D. student in Drama Studies, Université de Montréal ; research associate at CRILCQ)
JANKOVIC, Lise (Ph.D. student in Spanish Studies, Université de la Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, research associate at CREC)
LAUFFER, David (Ph.D. student in Musicology, Université de Tours François Rabelais, ICD, research associate at BNF for the fonds IMEB)
LAVOIE Guillaume (Ph.D. student in Litterature, Screen and Scene Arts, Université de Laval)
MERAL Guillaume (Ph.D. student in Cinematographic Studies Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, research associate at IRCAV)
NATAF Morgane, (ENS Louis-Lumière, Ph.D. student in Cinematographic Studies, research associate at IRCAV)
NEUVILLIERS, Marie-Caroline (Ph.D. student inSciences of Information and Communication, research associate at CEISME)
PETIT, Élise (Ph.D. in Musicology, Music Associate, ATER at l’Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, research associate at LISAA)
PIERRE, Mathieu (Ph.D. student in Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, research associate at l’IRCAV)
PISANO, Libera (post-Ph.D. student in Language philosophy, Università La Sapienza, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
REIN Katharina (post-PhD., International Research Institute for Cultural Techniques and Media Philosophy (IKKM), Bauhaus-University Weimar)
RENOUARD, Caroline (Ph.D. in Cinematographic Studies, research associate at IRCAV)
RIOULT, Thibaut (Ph.D. student in Arts, École normale supérieure)
ROBITAILLE, Pascal (Ph.D. student of in Drama Studies, Université de Montréal, research associate at CRILCQ)
ROUTHIER, Élisabeth (Ph.D. student in Intermediality, Université de Montréal, research associate at CRIalt)
SHPINITSKAYA, Julia (Ph.D. student, Université de Helsinki, Department of Musicology)
SICA, Vivien, (Ph.D. student in Cinematographic Studies, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, research associate at l’IRCAV)
TABET, Frédéric, (ENS Louis-Lumière, Ph.D. in Cinematographic Studies, research associate at IRCAV)
TRELEANI, Matteo (Ph.D. in semiology, research associate at CEISME)
SCIENTIFIC PROJECT PROPOSAL
The goal of this project is the analysis of technologies used in the performing arts in Europe and North America. A team of interdisciplinary researchers will examine the impact of these technologies on the creative development and reception of a selection of works, using both empirical and theoretical approaches. The names of the researchers are given in parentheses in this proposal following the mention of their area of expertise.
The history of technology over the last several centuries offers a veritable panorama of technologies and devices. The focus of this project will be on those audio and visual devices which aim to confound the senses and were developed for the phantasmagorias of the 18th century, the magic lantern shows and panoramas of the end of the 19th century, and for productions in theatre, opera, radio, magic, film and television from the end of the 19th century to the present day. Some of these devices are age-old, while others are yet at the experimental stage—such as the “Presence Effects and Performativity of Synthesized Characters in Media” device currently being developed by a team at Université Laval headed by Renée Bourassa—, but all seek to unground the perception of the audience members, since it is by “witholding from the eyes [and ears, we might add] any and all point of comparison that we succeed in momentarily troubling their ability to distinguish nature from art.”
The apparatuses that seek to “unsettle the senses” are at the heart of this collective research. They have been the object of individual Studies of specific audio or visual devices, specific periods, and specific artistic disciplines (film, theatre, television, etc.).
This project’s originality is in its interdisciplinary approach, which allows us to examine the ways in which the different devices fit together; in the re-evaluation of the role and importance of audio devices; in the will to create a dialogue between theoreticians and practitioners (through workshops and cultural events); but most importantly, in the chosen methodology, which uses magic as its frame of reference and patron-modèle. Indeed, although numerous Studies have demonstrated the role of technology in the emergence of new artistic practices, rarely have magic shows been included in the body of works examined. Researchers have simply not taken much of an interest in magic as a cultural practice. Yet magic shows are often avant-garde in their use of technological developments. According to Jean-Claude Bearne, “technology and magic, regardless of the period, have suggestive similarities.” Magicians—ever on the lookout for innovations that will allow them to create new effects—have always been early adopters of technological devices. Technologies are, by nature, always in development, always at the experimental stage in one way or another (Matthew Solomon). This was certainly the case of early film: “It is perfectly natural that a Superior Optical illusion like the cinema should find itself initially in the hands of conjurers, who are often experts mechanics, and are well acquainted with Optical trickery.” Another notable example, all the more so for being neither audio nor visual (in the sense of an optical illusion), is the use of electromagnets. Robert-Houdin’s “Heavy Trunk” trick, for example, used a magnetized trunk that became impossible to lift once the electromagnet, hidden under the stage, was activated.
The relationship between technology and magic was also furthered by the incursion of magicians into scholarly circles where knowledge and technology were advanced and shared. This cross-pollination is embodied in several figures, from Chevalier Pinetti, erudite showman of the 18th century, up to Steve Jobs in the 20th (Nadia Barrientos, Rémy Besson). In the shows of Robert-Houdin and Georges Méliès, Abdul Alafrez, David Copperfield, Jim Steinmeyer, Marco Tempest, and others, the illusions evolve in step with the scientific innovations in optics, accoustics, electricity and, more recently, information and digital technologies. The magic shows born of these innovations and the technologies employed in theatre, film, radio, television, and so forth, have these principles in common: the secret, the metamorphosis, the double, and participation. For each of the devices considered in this project, these principles are evident in the performative and technical aspects of the works, which can be analyzed according to three parameters: body, apparatus, and performance.
In movies, these three levels are orchestrated by the Faustian figure—the great magician and sorcerer and metaphor for the director (Jean-Michel Durafour) in order to create illusions (Emmanuel Dreux, Sylwia Frach, Réjane Hamus-Vallée, Guillaume Lavoie, Mathias Lavin, Isabelle Le Corff, Maxime Scheinfeigel, Vivien Sica, Sylvie Thouard, Pierre-Olivier Toulza) or to unground audience perception using superimposed images, dissolves, deceptive editing, and disembodied voices (Emmanuelle André, Jean-Michel Durafour, Mélissa Gignac, David Faroult, Pietsie Feenstra).
Certain techniques, like stereoscopy, are essentially based on an illusion. Two slightly different images appear to the audience to be a single image, giving an illusion of depth similar to that produced by binoculars. From that moment, stereoscopy acquires a magical quality. Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), anatomy professor at Harvard, poet, and the inventor of the hand-held stereoscope, witnessed this experience, which he related in 1871 in The Atlantic Monthly: “To this charm of fidelity in the minutest details the stereoscope adds its astonishing illusion of solidity, and thus completes the effect which so entrances the imagination.” (Esther Jacopin, Pascal Martin, Morgane Nataf, Guillaume Meral.)
Magic shows are not mere technical feats; their performativity (as in theatre, opera, film, radio, television and so on) lies also in their rhetoric. The magical power of words is as much a factor as the magic trick being presented; technological innovations coexist with the archaic devices of persuasion through repetition and ritual. Philosophical, literary and anthropological texts have often been the intermediaries between archaic and seemingly modern forms of magic (Geneviève De Viveiros, Magali de Haro Sanchez, Cyrielle Dodet, Thomas Galoppin, Xavier Papaïs, Libera Pisano, Jonathan Sterne, Marcello Vitali-Rosati).
Magical media technology: the “magic moment”
Working from Arthur C. Clarke’s theory that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” we could see any technology that hasn’t yet revealed its secrets, whose technical elements haven’t yet been mastered, that hasn’t yet been claimed and formalized by a single medium, as being a stage that could be defined as a magic moment. Viewed in this light, the archeology of the radio could be seen as a magic moment in that medium’s history. From its beginnings in the 1920s and 30s, the amount of programming dedicated to mentalism and magic on the radio suggests that the medium has a certain psychic or even occult quality (Philippe Baudoin). This ties in with the discourse, practices and representations surrounding the magical and occult beginnings of television and film devices. Two of the great principles guiding science and technology research in audiovisual reproduction are in evidence here: hearing/seeing from a distance, and projection (Mireille Berton). The very history of the “medium” concept has three interwoven geneaologies: one which concerns the history of physics and the theory of perception (the Aristotelian concepts of diaphane and metaxy and the diaphanous media of medieval and modern optics); one which concerns the history of logic (syllogism’s terminus medius); and one which concerns the history of magic and the occult, of Paracelse and Athanasius Kircher, and from occultism to the spirit photography of the 19th century. These three traditions converge in the media theories developed by such authors as Béla Balázs and Walter Benjamin, and continue on right up to the 20th century (Antonio Somaini).
In this light, a magical interpretation of photography becomes possible, specifically one which investigates the link, the fundamental association between photography and death, whether in the recording of a past event or in its power to objectify and expose its subject to the gorgoneion gaze (Clément Bodet). A theoretical current in France in the 1910s and 20s even defined film as a telepathic art. Telepathy, very much in vogue at the time and often incorporated into magic shows using certain tricks (Cumberlandism), was considered a goal that could be reached through the collective film-viewing experience and which would lead to the creation of a “new man” (Emmanuel Plasseraud).
Indeed, the cinematograph was quickly seen by magicians as an element to be incorporated into their shows, and was used alternately as a tool, an intermezzo, a replacement number, or an illusion-maker. The artist-magicians wanted to confound the audience by veiling the means with which they created their special effects; they sought this same indiscernibility of means in their cinematic work. The cinematograph was for them a new way of creating a dissonance between the perceived and the known. The use of moving pictures was based on this same principle—on exploiting the gap between what the audience perceived and what they knew (or recognized) of the cinematic illusion. More than a stand-alone attraction, the pictures created confusion and, in a wider sense, established the discursive underpinnings of the show (Frédéric Tabet). To situate the emergence of the cinematograph in the context of magic shows is to see both cinematic practices and the art of magic in a new light. The latter is largely unexplored and underestimated (Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan), and yet archival evidence points to its importance at the end of the 19th century, while today blogs on the Internet are dedicated to the subject (Delphine Chambolle, Lise Jankovic).
From the “magic mode” to the metadevice
Far from being a coincidence, the addition of moving pictures as an attraction served a general purpose that went far beyond simple entertainment—it formed a deceptive construct with the elements onstage. The moving pictures infiltrated magic shows; other artistic practices soon followed. It is worth remembering that féerie shows were not the only productions to integrate image projections and make extensive use of stage effects and tricks to create “magic” (Franck Kessler, Sabine Lenk, Stéphane Tralongo). In dramatic theatre also, “new” audio and visual technologies have been used to unground audience perceptions (Renée Bourassa, Jonathan Burston, Vincent Dussaiwoir, Robert Faguy, Erwan Geffroy, Jean-Marc Larrue, Véronique Perruchon, Jean-Paul Queinnec, Pascal Robitaille, Elisabeth Routhier) and this, from the end of the 19th century onwards. And in opera, with its grandiose staging and complex sets, “magic” was made well before the advent of digital technologies (Daniel Durney, Laurent Guido, Isabelle Moindrot, Jean-Claude Yon).
Stage, film and radio productions have since delved unceasingly into the technological realm, going so far as to invent new devices, that become devices within devices, in order to confound the audience and recover the lost magic of devices past. Films such as The Illusionist (Neil Burger, 2006), The Prestige (Christopher Nolan, 2006) and Now You See Me (Louis Leterrier, 2013) explore the magic of the stage and the magical effect of cinematic special effects, placing the audience between the two forms (Caroline Renouard).
Many TV series playfully reference the artifice of their existence by calling out and subverting the characteristic technologies and devices of moving-picture media. Thus, the device for travelling to the second universe in Fringe (2008–2013) bears a strange resemblance to a Lumière cinematograph, and the window that it opens recalls the shape of the image projected by that device onto a screen. Similarly, to uncover the secret origin of the Slayers, the characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003) must use shadow puppets; the shadows projected onto the wall take on a life of their own and open a gateway to the past. Even when the device isn’t explicitly present, it is regularly referenced. In American Horror Story (2011– ), when supernatural elements are unveiled, the visual aesthetic evokes the early movie camera, as though in homage (Pierre Mathieu).
Lettriste painter and pioneer video artist Michel Jaffrennou was the first to put the small screen on the stage and make use of video’s illusionist potential (Les Totologiques, 1979–1980). His work plays on deceptive continuities between real actors and their electronic image, to great effect. In his last production, Algo et Ritmo, “digital technologies are also technological means of reappropriating and remembering technological devices from the past (Méliès, along with Jaffrennou, is once more among us, perhaps as we have never seen him before)” (Alain Carou). And in 2014, Robert Lepage has presented us with a play, Cœur, marked by the magic and illusionism of Robert-Houdin and Méliès.
Present-day examples of metadevices that seek to revive the magic of devices past abound, and have almost become a dominant form. Hybridization is an “in” phenomenon. Yet it is far from new. The Diaporama, Jean-Pierre Alaux’s Magic Theatre, though an ephemeral experiment (1821–1823), blended machinery and sets, lighting and automatons to “bring the similitude of things as close as possible to reality.” His hybrid productions were an attempt to present shows of an “entirely new genre” (Patrick Desile, Ségolène Le Men). In Georges Méliès’s The Magic Lantern, released in 1903, the magic lantern has a role in the film. At the crossover between the 19th and 20th centuries, this movie meditates on the very nature of the “show.” The classical dancer meets the cabaret artist and the two dance around a pair of protagonists embodying popular music and children’s songs, with commedia dell’arte, Guignol puppet theatre, and théâtre magique all combined (Giusy Pisano, Caroline Renouard). A further example: Antonin Artaud’s project for a film adaptation of The Monk proposed a new take on the “magic feeling” experienced when witnessing a live tableau (Carole Halimi).
Theatre history offers numerous examples of stage/screen hybrids, among them: André Birabeau’s play Petit Péché, premiered at the Théâtre de la Comédie-Caumartin in 1926; Denys Amiel and Charles Lafaurie’s L’Homme d’un soir, which premiered in 1925; and Ferme ta malle by Pierre Darfeuil, which premiered in 1930 (Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan). In Broadway theatre, the phenomenon appears in the satirical treatment of film (Marguerite Chabrol).
One could also apply the magic interpretation to the early history of television (Kira Kitsopanidou), or analyze the enduring popularity of magic tricks on televised shows, which played a major role in the careers of artists such as José Garcimore, a “multidisciplinary” magician who appeared on stage, on TV, and even on albums (Claire Baudet, Clémence de Montgolfier, Marie-Caroline Neuvillers, Guillaume Soulez, Matteo Treleani).
The use of sound effects from the world of magic in every media, from radio to film, has yet to be delineated; this is one of the tasks of the project (Martin Barnier). High-fidelity and high-definition, experimental prototypes aiming to control, spatialize or synthesize analogue sound, as well as the digital technologies used in virtual reality—from augmented reality to immersive environments—will be studied in their interdependence with the technologies that preceded them, since “every new technology, before becoming an independent media, has to prove its capability, has to demonstrate its compatibility with the media already in existence in existence…”A couple of noteworthy examples: the Gmebaphone, which was initially characterized by the fractioned spectral distribution of sounds amidst a large ensemble of speakers, controlled using a soundboard; and the “Gmebogosse,” dreamed up by Christian Clozier in 1972, which was based on the use of cassette reader-recorders and later replaced by digital systems such as the Cybersongosse. These are the most well-known of a number of devices that came out of the Bourges Institute for Electroacoustic Music (IMEB)(Kevin Dahan, Martin Laliberté, David Lauffer, Geneviève Mathon, Élise Petit, Sylvain Samson).
Several other audio devices had a glorious past and were then forgotten, up until being digitally revived. The magic sounds of the Théâtrophone (1881) allowed passers-by to hear a live transmission of the play being presented in the theatre. Since 2006, these sounds have been accompanied by images and broadcast by satellite into theatres throughout the world (André Gaudreault, Giusy Pisano). Finally, the idea of “naturalizing” new technologies is one worth investigating in relation to notions of the “virtual” and the “dematerialization” of information, which have slowly eclipsed their operational realities (Aurélie Ledoux).
Though this research touches on the scientific, technical and artistic discourse and practices of the past (particularly those of the 19th century, with its miracle of electricity, magic lanterns, spirit photography, opera, illusion techniques used in opera, Theatre Noir, etc.) and goes on to consider perspectives from the history of ideas, the history of art, the epistemology of the sciences, the anthropology of images and sound, and many things in-between, its primary objective is pragmatic: to inform students and researchers about little-known technological devices that have only rarely been studied by historians, and yet are so important to our understanding of the current development of “new technologies” within the larger cultural context. Studying these devices will not only allow us to (re)discover the images and sounds of the past, but also to identify the ways in which they are revived by “new” devices. The empirical research for this project should allow us to revisit the history and theories of audio and visual devices used on stage and screen through an approach that seeks to reveal the multidisciplinary and interdependent nature of new and old media.
The body of works analyzed in this project provide a frame of references for revisiting media history in terms of the “technological cycle” of each medium: the magic moment (belief), the magic mode (rhetoric), and naturalization (the magic becomes commonplace).
The scope of the subject, the housing of the source material in several countries, the diverse expertise required by the anthropological, historical, technical, theoretical and aesthetic implications all necessitate a collective form of research. This project could be most beneficially organized as an international network that has already begun to take shape between the Université de Montréal, Université de Lausanne, Université Laval, McGill University, Universiteit Utrecht, University of Michigan, University of Western Ontario, Humboldt Universität Berlin, UQAC, UQAM, and Indiana University Bloomington.
Axis of research
1. The magical moment of media: archeology of media.
Philippe Baudouin, Mireille Berton, Clément Bodet, Patrick Désile, Patrick Feaster, Erwan Geffroy, Erkki Huhtamo, Kira Kitsopanidou, Guillaume Lavoie, Ségolène Le Men, Emmanuel Plasseraud, Giusy Pisano, Elisabeth Routhier, Antonio Somaini ; Heui-Tae Park, Matthew Solomon, Jonathan Sterne.
Axis Coordinators: Patrick Feaster, Kira Kitsopanidou, Antonio Somaini, Matthew Solomon.
2. The magic mode: the experimentation of technologies in the performing arts and their impact on creative processes; reactivation of the magical mode by the introduction of numerical technologies ''sufficiently advanced'' in sound and visual devices.
Miguel Almiron, Martin Barnier, Claire Baudet, Livio Belloi, Alain Carou, Marguerite Chabrol, Clémence De Mongolfier, Emmanuel Dreux, Jean-Michel Durafour, Daniel Durney, Sylwia Frach, David Faroult, Pietsie Feenstra, Carole Halimi, Mélissa Gignac, Laurent Guido, Réjane Hamus-Vallée, Florent Fajole, François Jardon-Gomez, Frank Kessler, Mathias Lavin, Isabelle Le Corff, Sabine Lenk, Guillaume Lavoie, Philippe Marion, Pierre Mathieu, Isabelle Moindrot, Marie-Caroline Neuvilliers, Maxime Scheinfeigel, Vivien Sica, Guillaume Soulez, Julia Shipinitskaya, Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan, Stéphane Tralongo, Matteo Trelani, Jean-Claude Yon.
Axis Coordinators: Frank Kessler, Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan, Stéphane Tralongo, Matteo Treleani.
3. Technologies and reception: the transformation of perceptive modes by the introduction of new technological tools in stagecraft; the effects of mechanization of performances on the viewers experience ; the new aesthetic sensibilities in an era of illusion reproduction (photography, phonography, cinema, radio, television, technological theater, etc.).
Renée Bourassa, Emmanuelle André, Jean-Pierre Bertin-Maghit, Jonathan Burston, Kevin Dahan, Vincent Dussaiwoir, Robert Faguy, André Gaudreault, Esther Jacopin, Jean-Marc Larrue, Aurélie Ledoux, David Lauffer, Pascal Martin, Martin Laliberté, Geneviève Mathon, Guillaume Meral, Morgane Nataf, Véronique Perrouchon, Élise Petit, Caroline Renouard, Pascal Robitaille, Sylvain Samson, Sylvie Thouard, Pierre-Olivier Toulza.
Axis Coordinators: Renée Bourassa, Jonathan Burston, Vincent Dussaiwoir, Geneviève Mathon.
4. The magical art, practices and discourse: devices, writings and effects ; scientific, litterary, philosophical and anthropological texts highlighting the relationship between machine, spirit and magic.
Nadia Barrientos, Rémy Besson, Delphine Chambolle, Sandrine Chiri, Magali De Haro Sancez, Florent Di Bartolo, Geneviève De Viveiros, Cyrielle Dodet, Lise Iankovic, Laura Odello, Xavier Papaïs, Libera Pisano, Thibaut Rioult, Frédéric Tabet, Marcello Vitali-Rosati.
Axis Coordinators: Geneviève De Viveiros, Xavier Papaïs, Marcello Vitali-Rosati, Frédéric Tabet.
Part 1: Creation of a database
Creation of work tools
Scientific coordination meetings
Part 2: Exploration of the technological cycle: ''magical moment'', ''magical mode'', ''naturalization''
Organisation of five meetings for internation scientific workshops and one day of study
Scientific coordination meetings
Part 3 : Scientific production and promotion
Organisation of an international colloquium at Centre Culturel International de Cerisy-la-Salle
Organisation of an international colloquium at Lausanne
Organisation of a international colloquium ISIS (International Society for Intermedial Studies) at Montreal Organisation of an international colloquium at Montreal
Presentation of the device ''Presence and performativity of synthetic characters in media'' at l'Université de Laval as directed by Renée Bourassa.
2015-2018 1 : Treatmen of documentation and creation of the tools of our research
The project Deceptive Arts. Machines, Magic, Mediawill be made around the creation of a logical database allowing us to document the three stages of the ''technological cycle'' of media: magical moment, magical mode, naturalization of media.
Many archives kept by patrimonial institutions and collectors may become the main sources of this databse. However, considering the important quantity of data and the vast historical perimeter, and considering the project's timeline (3 years), the choice was made, in regards to the database, on a crucial period for the history of technologies made to serve the performing arts : the end of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth. The Auguste Rondel archival holdings kept at the Département des arts du spectacle de la Bibliothèque Nationale de France allows us to investigate the technological mutations of performances of this era. This historical archive, crucial for those who wish to study the history of French performances, contains manuscripts, prints, periodical publications, posters, drawings, pictures, etc. related to an era that spans the very origins of theater to 1936. By 1895, this collection holding 800 000 plays covers all artistic domains: drama, cinema, music, dance, etc. We shall limit our database-filling research to a press kit telling the lives and reception of works shown on the French scene. This corpus will then be linked with the american institutional archives (Bibliothèque et archives nationales du Québec, Bibliothèque et archives Canada, New York Public Library, Conjuring Art Research Center (NY), Musée de la Civilisation, Musée McCord, Shubert Archives, Library of Congress, etc.).
This research will be directed by the French team for the French archives and by the Montreal team for North -American/English archives.
Interdisciplinary basis (performance arts, panorama, magic lantern, theaterphone, disc, cinema, radio, etc.).
Three stage hierarchy: level 1 (archivistic data on the documents) ; level 2 (historical data on performances) ; level 3 (critical data on the relationship between technology and magical mode and moment).
Indexing of effects, techniques and technologies.
Cartography: references and links with other archival holdings.
2015-2017. 2 : Exploration of uses and effects of technology working for performances
Organisation of international scientific workshops focusing on meetings between performers and researchers.
24 January 2014 : Inaugural meeting - organisation (ENS Louis-Lumière)
1) 14 April 2015 : The magical art, practices and discourse (ENS Louis-Lumière)
Coordinators: Geneviève De Vieveros, Xavier Papaïs, Marcello Vitali-Rosati, Frédéric Tabet
2) November 2015: Technological innovation and the magic
Scientific workshop followed by a performance by the Maison de la magie de Blois.
Coordinators: Delphine Chambolle, Matthew Solomon, Frédéric Tabet
3) March 2016: Archeology of media
Coordinators: Kira Kitsopanidou, Antonio Somaini, Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan
4) June 2016: Practical workshop/theory L’image en relief
Coordinator: Esther Jacopin, Pascal Martin, Morgane Nataf, Guillaume Meral
5) December 2016: Technology and reception
Coordinators: René Bourassa, Patrick Feaster, Geneviève Mathon
6) November 2017: The magic musical performance in media (in partnership with projectLabex Art-H2H : MC² le film Musical hollywoodien en Contexte Médiatique et Culturel)
Coordinators: Jonathan Burston, Marguerite Chabrol, Aurélie Ledoux, Frédéric Tabet
The hybridization relationship between living performance and cinema will be analysed regarding a corpus of American Hollywood musical movies thanks to an interrogation on the development of a rhetoric in this genre that borrows from the imagination of magical tricks. A day of study devoted to the ''magical musical number'' will be jointly organised by Les arts trompeurs / Deceptive Arts and Musical MC2(dir. M. Chabrol). The funding application submitted to the labex for this action will be equally split between both projects. The idea is to study the ways in which cinema technology has been used to serve a double relationship of imitation and demarcation in regards to theater, around a ''magical mode'' shown to be specific to cinema, to make it a rival to live performance (circa1940-1970). The workshop will take place at l'ENS Louis-Lumière.
2016-2017. 3 : Scientific production and promotion
1) August 2016: Cerisy Colloquium Magic and scenic arts
Directed by Jean-Marc Larrue, Giusy Pisano, Frédéric Tabet and Stéphane Tralongo
Around this time : Festival de la magie ; Exposition « Le spectacles magiqus par ses affiches ».
This colloquium reuniting researchers, artists and amateurs proposes a comparative analysis of magician practices' and reprisals, resurgences, reversals in scenic arts.
2) May 18-20, 2017: International Montreal Colloquium in collaboration with the International Society for Intermedial Studies (ISIS)
Directed by Jean-Marc Larrue, Giusy Pisano, Marcello Vitali-Rosati
3) October 2017: Lausanne Colloquium Magics of automatism.
Directed by Mireille Berton and Stéphane Tralongo
Centre des Sciences Historiques de la Culture, Université de Lausanne
This colloquium wishes to apprehend multiple forms imagined or realised of automatism in its links with magic from the automatons at the beginning of the XXth century to automation industrial processes around 1960. We shall see how automated devices are thought and shown in relation with magic thought not only as a performance, but also as a game focused on a fascination inspired by technology, echoing the concept of phantasmagoria so important for Adorno and Benjamin.
- Evening show: recreation of magical plays Le Décapité récalcitrant (Georges Méliès, Théâtre Robert-Houdin, 1891), Passez Muscade (MM. Ferdinand Bloch and Abel Mercklein created at Théâtre Robert-Houdin in march 1898), representation of Machine Magie (Abdul Alafrez and Jean-Pierre Drouet), projection of movies by Méliès (Cinémathèque Méliès).
- Presentation of the device ''Presence and performativity of synthetic characters in media'' at Université Laval as directed by Renée Bourassa.
- webdocumentary Mediamagic
- Magie et arts de la scène (actes colloque Cerisy), to be published in 2017.
- Magie et représentations (actes colloque Montréal), to be published in 2018.
- Magies de l’automatisme (actes colloque Lausanne), to be published in 2019.
- Passez Muscade (pièce magique de MM. Ferdinand Bloch et Abel Mercklein premiered at Théâtre Robert-Houdin in March 1898), commented edition. To be published in 2016.
- Anthologie commentée et annotée de textes portant sur l’art magique, to be published in 2016.
- Frédéric Tabet, Circulation techniques entre l’art magique et le cinématographe avant 1906, to be published in 2015.
-Stéphane Tralongo, Faiseurs de féerie. Mise en scène, machinerie et pratiques, to be published in 2015.
-Caroline Renouard, Les effets esthétiques et narratifs de la technique de l’incrustation : l’image composite dans les mises en image(s) spectaculaires, to be published in 2015.