Thursday July 22nd, 2004.


Until recently, the audience has often been set in darkness, so that its attention was attracted to the actor or to objects to be considered by the lights focused on them. In such a way, the show could not be disturbed by reactions of the audience. Meanwhile, since the audience was kept out of the action of the play, the mental activity of the spectator was supposed to be guided by the various played forms he saw and heard. Hence, the creators silently hoped that the spectator would partake in a sort of « spirit life » created by the presented work. Whatever our relation to the materials of the body of the work, whatever its colour or its musicality, the spectator was expected to retire from the played world. Meanwhile, such a retirement made his judgement of that felt world easier and leads him inevitably to live in it.

Nowadays, some creators try to bring the audience nearer to the presented work in theatre plays, dance shows, performances, or plastic art exhibitions. Indeed, such works are more and more involved in an aesthetic research, developing some specific areas where the spectator must feel free to step in, thus sharing the played world with actors and creators. Such collaborative processes aim at demystifying the artistic practices, making them shareable so that a work can have multiple authors. Now that the spectator is participating in a work, having the spotlights on him, we talk about « authorS » of that work.

« Mazecorp » is presented in « » which features works all born from the considerations mentioned above and the questions they raised. Through written - hidden - parts (the code), I demonstrate that there exists a zone that is open to the meeting of plastic arts, digital arts, scenic arts (theatre), and stage arts (cinema). I characterise this zone as being propitious to time’s swing, of which the tango is the most popular form. In order to achieve such an aesthetic research, I consider the computer as an actor who interprets the scenario written and encoded by an author. The computer screen is the stage where both the digital actor and the active spectator play the story. The mouse and the keyboard are the tools that allow the spectator to come on stage: he chooses the elements making up the sequence of the story himself. Then the spectator is also an author since he chooses the actual ordering of the events, thus participating to the writing of the story: the spectator assumes the role of stager. Nevertheless he remains the second author, while the first author - the producer - conducts him to pick his choices among a set of predefined scenes.


« Mazecorp » is a maze-like work that investigates the possible relationships between cinema, poetry, and networking. The maze is an open field with only one possible issue. Anyone wishing to escape its underlying architecture is brought back to a place he already visited. This phenomenon emphasizes the discovery of ourselves when we loose our landmarks and references within a totalitarian world. Not only do the codes [1] and the computer systems give rise to the relationships, but they also create links back and forth between various components i.e. the object of reading, the reader and the media used in reading. The programmed events relate writing and reading. Whenever the reader uses the reading device, he resumes writing in the state where the author seems to have left it. However, any upcoming reading was actually anticipated by the author. The author uses the code in order to lay out a pathway of reading, like an ever-growing finite-state automata, which then may be interpreted differently by the same reader, depending on both the particular reading device and the platform used.

The maze is divided in four acts: "by now" ("à présent"), "an arrest" ("une arrestation"), "in the morning" ("au matin"), "a memory" ("une mémoire"). Each act is then divided into three cinematographic poems, each one accounting for the reality of an arbitrary arrest. The arrest of the photographer is noticed because his pictures are the key elements of « Mazecorp’s story ». The arrest of the writer is clearly indicated when the verses of the poet are featured as subtitles of a silent film. Above all, the real arrest by the armed forces of any human who infringes a law is omnipresent. « Mazecorp » actually pays a tribute to Sémira Adamu who was executed by the Belgian armed forces on September 22nd, 1998. However this construction is not intended to relate this tragic story, but I wish the reader could discover by himself the main points towards Adamu’s life and death: confinement and loss.

In this context, I think that the Flash-Shockwave software is quite appropriate to emphasize these points. Indeed, the encoding produced by Flash is not available during the reading of the scenes, so there is no way for the spectator to escape the maze. If he feels overwhelmed either by confinement or by loss of marks, his only issue is to escape the scene by closing the window (shutting the stage); but then the next time he’ll read the work, he’ll have to start from the very same beginning. There is no page mark. Then, the reasons why I choose the Flash-Shockwave software are close to the writing assumptions: being able to write and to mount up some written scenes, but imposing the use of a proprietary software in order to participate to the encoding.

In « Mazecorp », as in all other works presented in « », I incite the spectator to contribute to the work in progress: the reader is asked to send me a text or/and a photograph. I then proceed to the assembling of available texts and pictures according to a temporality that should reflect the rhythm of the relationship between texts and pictures. Once the assembly is encoded, it is integrated into the work and I give it back to the spectators. In order to ensure a plurality of authors, I wish the spectator to take a larger part in the writing process. As a consequence, the creative space of the first author will diminish. But the idea of proprietary software sets limits to such a utopic attempt to let the author disappear. I decided then to look for software that would allow anyone to create vectorial animations. The language of such software must be freely available and legible. In that way, many spectators would have easy access to the creation of the temporality of the common work.

I am still looking for such software. For now, only the SVG standard, distributed by Adobe, associated with the language SMILE and, if necessary, javascript, allows one to create visual and interactive animations. Even if one can eventually learn such a coding system, the whole digital writing process, including the computer languages used, the mounting techniques and the possibilities of motion interpolation, is not easy to master. As a first step toward this plurality of authors approach, we developed the work « Day Blog LycéeS » [2] », which involved the students of the undergraduate school Alphonse Daudet (Tarascon, Fr). Through the creation of a common work, the students, teachers, and writers all had their questions about the concept of "proprietary" language that they used (Flash): what are its availability, its cost, and its ability to evolve along with future demands? The emerging conclusion is that software should be created for the design and the mounting of scenes, which involve texts, poems, pictures, sounds, and movies. Such software should be designed in such a way that its developers and users can share information about it, whatever the technical knowledge of each partner. I encourage you to think and talk about such a project. I hope some of you will be interested in developing such software.

Xavier Leton

[1] Codes used : html, java script, shockwave_flash (plug-in needed: MacromediaFlash)

[2] « Day Blogue LycéeS » : Réalisé par les étudiants du lycée Alphonse Daudet de Tarascon, lors des ateliers de pratiques artistiques; projet initié par Madame Régine Chiesa; et réaliser par Xavier Leton ( en collaboration avec les étudiant[e]s.

Objectif : Le projet de cet atelier consiste en la réalisation d’un "Blogue" (définition sur le site) constitué de textes et d’images, reflétant une journée de cours vue par un[e] élève. Par extension, nous ouvrons ce projet aux professeurs, aux personnels participants à la vie quotidienne de l’établissement scolaire, ainsi qu’aux autres établissements scolaires désireux de développer un projet artistique et éducatif. A partir de leur réalisation nous leur proposons d’imaginer et de réaliser « quel serait le lycée, l’enseignement, idéal concernant l’accès à la connaissance et à sa démocratisiation ? ».

Ce projet est soutenu et présenté dans « les cahiers de l’ingénerie éducative » (CNDP cahier n°45. article d’Evelyne Broudoux. Article intitulé: "Je blogue, tu blogues, nous bloguons. Du carnet individuel à l’écriture collective".

Par l’association « Les Têtes de l’Art », (Marseille).

Par NetDays.

Par l’academie d’Aix-Marseille

Day Blogue lycée[S] est réalisé grâce à: Madame Regine Chiesa (professeur d’arts plastiques au lycée A.Daudet de Tarascon), Madame Mittaine (proviseur du lycée A.Daudet de Tarascon), Mmes Lazennec et Mauron de la DAAC, La DRAC PACA., Lise Bobbia, Fabrice Perez, Lucie Lefevre, Aurélien Fravallo, Fiona Randez