Installation, 1999

Pierrick Sorin (FR)

Titre Variable n°9 is an ‘optical theatre’ that blends new media with traditional diorama, consisting of a wooden structure, a vintage vinyl turntable, a spy-mirror and a video-screen.

Based on the principle of the hologram, this installation enables a double vision: once a video screen hidden behind a spy mirror is turned on, the viewer sees someone walking onto the spinning vinyl disc, as well as their own reflection. The virtual image fits completely into the real elements of the artwork in a perfect illusion. The piece places immaterial subjects amongst real-life material objects, creating a subliminal realm of illusionary reality. The video portrays the artist as the protagonist. Presented in the guise of a small ectoplasm, he runs on the turntable and sometimes almost falls. He’s dressed as Mr Hulot, with the genuine iconic raincoat worn by Jacques Tati, the famous comical uncle in the French movie Les vacances de Mr Hulot. The accompanying lullaby is coming from the record playing backwards: the sound is repetitive and incomprehensible.

The title Titre Variable n°9 (variable title number nine, in English) suggests a free interpretation by the spectator of the inaudible words. This small-scale, pseudo-holographic optical theatre embodies simple technical means and a taste of abrasive humour and self-mockery.

Artist's Statement

My first productions were little Super 8 films, and from there I developed the concept of autofilming—filming myself in fictional settings where I portray various protagonists, like in the series Pierrick & Jean-Loup (1994). I play two brothers, Pierrick and Jean-Loup who fall prey to a certain boredom, and engage in activities that are at once stupid and creative. This concept of boredom, this life that we have to busy ourself with and the worries of every day, is a founding principle in my oeuvre. As for my trademark, it must be the little “théâtres optiques” (optical theatres) that I’ve been developing since the mid-nineties