This project benefits from financial support by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication (aide à la maquette du DICRéAM (09)), by the Région Languedoc Roussillon (aide à la création multimédia), and from a residency at the CNES La Chartreuse, Villeneuve lez Avignion.
The project is supported by le manège.mons/CECN, HTTP Londres, Kawenga territoires numériques (Montpellier), ConnaiSciences (Montpellier) and Nu2s (Barcelone).
Technological partner : Théâtre Paris-Villette / x-réseau.


Shifts, interruptions, cuts, flux variations, temporary vacuums and coding errors in and between the images, are the aesthetic materials of the performance that will translate our vulnerability in our attempts to communicate in a cyberized environment.

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March 30 13:30 – 22:30
Tout Va Bien – Self-Reflexivity and Cinéma Verité

Gerrit Rietveld Academie Frederik Roeskestraat 96 1076 ED Amsterdam

Curated by:
Martine Neddam
Annie Abrahams,
Josephine Bosma, Călin Dan,
Praneet Soi,
Michael Uwemedimo


Reality needs to be trapped in order to be available for thought

Huis Clos / No Exit – Tout va Bien
demo – performance, 30 March 2011
for the “Self-Reflexivity and Cinéma Verité” session
curated by Martine Neddam for the Studium Generale 2011
Cinema Clash Continuum – Film & History in the age of Godard
Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam.

Annie Abrahams with: Balthazar Berling, Lola Bezemer, Rozemarijn Hermans,Tirza Kater, Alexander Laurie and Anna Orlikowska

Interface development : Estelle Senay – Théâtre Paris – Villette
Videocapture : Bérénice Belpaire
More information on the seminar

I spend one afternoon with the students to prepare this demo – performance. Before we had some email exchanges. Here is the content of one of these mails :

"I don’t want to tell stories, neither am I interested in his stories – in history, maybe in her stories, but that’s another subject.
We live in a time where it is very difficult, mostly impossible, to take position intellectually. We are asked to occupy positions that we can’t defend. There is too much information available.
We live in a time where we are almost completely immune to images of distress coming to us from all over the world, they have become at the most material for our continual need for adrenaline. It is as if images (and film?) sedate me.

I don’t want to tell stories
Reality needs to be fictionalised in order to be reflected upon. (Rancière)
I want to fictionalize reality in order to be able to think about it.
I’m not interested in these fictions, but in the way we produce and use them.
Reality needs to be trapped in order to be available for thought.
I am interested in your story.
I am interested in language as something lived, chaired, incarnated, not as a system. I like multiple voices, doubt and fluidity.

Non matrixed
Non mimetic
Meta fictional

I am not a performer , I use performance to do research.

There is no failure.

If you didn’t yet, please listen to Alan Kaprow’s 11 rules to make a happening

There are only rules no norms (as in an psychiatric hospital)
You are in a huis clos, you cannot escape, you are caged in, you are gridded
you are both my research subjects as my co-researchers
Not your sensibility, not your intellect but your capacity to act will be our point of attention
our behaviour, our way to interact, to be together is what we will show
There is no priority for either expression or thought, both will serve the “geste”
nothing spectacular,
Ordinary interactions, difficult to control because of its mirrored movements in the webcam image, because of delay, because of unusual communication circumstances
Nothing is what it seems (co-construction kissing is drawing with the tongue, do you know what I mean?)
No time to control the mirror image of yourself, you construct with the others, no time to reflect on its impact on you, something will escape, something what you wouldn’t show under normal circumstances. You will reveal. Something will be trapped

This is probably best “illustrated” in : Patriotism and Preferences and in “On translation” These were all very open performances with almost no script, with only an intention at the beginning.

So my performances are like experiments.

In an interview  Maria Chatzichristodoulou asked me: Do you consider much the type of experience that you want your audiences to have while attending your performances? How important is this to you?

I answered: This is an important question, and one that is not easy to answer. As mentioned earlier, I don’t want the audience to be immersed in my performances. I want them to be distanced; in fact, I don’t want them to be an audience at all, I would prefer to think of them as involved observers. Those observers are not important for the development of the piece as such –at least that is the case for performance works where audiences are not invited to become actively involved as participants. In those cases my focus is on my performance partner(s) and on what is happening between us/them, rather than on those observing us.

My intention it to test what, and how much, we can share between us, and how those relationships can develop. At the same time, the performance would not exist without the people observing this; the exchange would not make sense without their presence.

Maybe a performance is for me, as an artist, what an article is to a scientific researcher –that is, a way to make public, to share, something that you think is important for other people to know about or to feel. So it is clear that I cannot perform my work in solitude, I need people to share it with. The question of liveness though remains for some of my performances that do not actively involve the audience, and this question is: does it make a different to how audiences experience the piece whether this is streamed live, at the moment of its making, or whether it is pre-recorded and broadcasted at a different time? I don’t think that there is a single answer. This reminds me that, for some time now, I have been musing on making a webcam movie… More :

There is certainly more to say, for instance about you seeing yourself in a mirror situation interacting with others – what does this do to the image you have of your identity to how you negotiate/construct your identity?

And does this performance act as a prologue to …, does it make the public, you the performers consider differently what will come afterwards. Do you know Peter Handke’s Sprechstücke?

Dag allemaal.
Tot dinsdag


Huis Clos / No Exit - Tout va Bien is part of the Huis Clos / No Exit artistic research project by Annie Abrahams