Karla Kracht is a visual artist who works mainly with video, illustration and animation. His partner Andrés Beladiez is a theater director, a physical theater especially, as well as for the dance. He is also a playwright. Together, they offer the “Zoomwooz” performance at the FNC Lab, a multimedia show integrating music, projection, video, drawing and animation, which reflects on society and the various systems that compose it, not without a certain black humor.
The title of their performance, “Zoomwooz”, is a kind of palindrome, formed of the word zoom repeated, and reversed in its second part. “Zoomwooz” implies several meanings and Karla Kracht gives some of them: “One of the meanings is that we work in several dimensions. Another is that we leave from different points of view to approach, zoom in on a subject. We also want to talk about systems; For example, you can zoom in on a cup of coffee, then you can enlarge your field of view (zoom out), and you see the whole of another system, more global, and it is like that to infinity , In one direction or the other. We also draw inspiration from a short film by the American designer Charles Eames, dating from the sixties in which we leave Central Park in New York, I believe, and zoom out, we expand the plan, more and more , Until one finds oneself in the space, and one can really see all the systems to be defined one after the other. That is the principle of our performance. ”
After their first experiences with this project in Bolivia, the duo realized that he had just found their direction, where he wanted to evolve, but that it was not yet fixed. It would inevitably be a work in progress. Karla Kracht adds: “Now we know that we will not develop it any more, although it is practically impossible. Each time we add something, but hey, we can say that the project is no longer in a big process of progress. ”
The scenography was created as a team, and the themes were also chosen as two. “I personally take care of the drawings,” adds Karla, “but we agree on the atmosphere we want to develop, such as whether we need more beautiful things or more horrible things! (Laughs). This is a common work. ”
The sound environment of the performance was entrusted to three musicians: ABC100, originally from Russia, Ilia Mayer and Make-D Productions, both from Barcelona. From their proposals, Andrés Beladiez mounted a band, adding some additional musical elements.
“Zoomwooz” features several paintings, both poetic and surreal, that overlap. A social irony emerges, using a material quite modest and relatively low-fi or handmade: painted cartons, flashlights, two laptops, some camcorders. The project must be able to transport itself in two bags, a restriction that is not one, since it actually facilitates travel. During the performance, moving around their models and other miniatures, placed on tables, the performers animate, illuminate and film live, while the projections are enlarged on a central wall. The two lateral walls receive live shadows created by the movements of the two artists, while the audience is usually seated on the floor, on carpets or cushions, in the center of these three projection surfaces.
An installation version of “Zoomwooz” has also been presented a few times. In their two suitcases, the artists add an additional mini-projector, their models and carton models, the Scarlet 8i6 Focusrite audio interface, as well as three types of video cameras (mini-DV, webcams and wireless cameras) .
The subjects, as Karla Kracht says, “questions that one asks oneself every day, about the world in which one lives,” are fairly universal. This platform, where various slogans and signs of manifestations are deployed, is a concrete example, which undoubtedly contributes to the success of this performance. In each country where the show takes place, in addition to adapting itself to the available room, there is a change of slogans for those who travel locally, a choice that echoes the viewer in an infallible way. The artist speaks of their own way of appropriating them: “We think it’s quite difficult to do a good search on the Internet, to understand, to grasp a place, to know what really happens in the This or that place. It is by speaking to people on the spot, seeking to know what moves the city in question, that we get there. For example, for the demonstration scene, with several small signs and other signs of protest, we directly ask local people what motivates them, what are the real slogans that actually circulate in the movements. So everywhere I make these miniatures according to local motivations. ”
The stage layout takes a few hours and includes a ceiling-mounted projector, a portable projector and an analogue TV (an old model, not a flat screen, which has to give “black snow” in the absence of a signal). Depending on the available space, between 4 and 6 types of spatial arrangement can be deployed.
After the performances, the audience is normally invited to take a closer look at the installations, in order to understand their functioning. Frequently, it would seem that people are surprised at the small size of the objects, because of the size of the projections. “Many people find it rather dark, others are very touched, without falling into the Hollywood emotions,” said the creators. Some people particularly appreciate the forms we put forward. Before seeing the perfo, it happens that people think that it is addressed to the children, because of the drawings and the animation, but that is not the case at all; Most of them are rather uninterested and sleep in less than 2 minutes! In fact, the pace is far too slow for toddlers! ”
It is difficult to classify this performance of childish appearance, but to the scathing remarks. This probably explains why she finds herself in places as diverse as art galleries, theater festivals and she has even figured in the programming of a dance festival. It is in Poland that the duo will have had its biggest surprise, since the performance had to be installed and uninstalled in record time. The location was a movie theater, and the artists found that the format of the big screen (instead of three walls normally) was also suitable for their type of show. The large format and the quality of screen being at the rendezvous, we would have thus given a new power to the words, the atmosphere created. From the middle of the video, Karla Kracht is also very happy to participate in a film festival in Montreal, a first for “Zoomwooz”.
This slightly offbeat show was mostly presented in Europe, as well as in South Korea and China. This is the first time he comes to North America. After Ottawa and Montreal, it will pass through Portugal.
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