Recherché: ‘images d’avenir’ pour nouveaux spectateurs
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Interaction and immersion are vague terms, which have to do with images, performance, but above all the audience. At certain times during its history, cinema has tried to follow the idea, or rather the utopia, of these elements experimentally, but the cinematographic dispositif has instead generalised a single and univocal discipline for the viewers: in a row, sitting, in darkness, in silence, all looking at a single screen. Experimental zones, open to viewer participation, to the involvement of senses beyond sight and hearing, have continued to exist on the periphery of cinema, in some avant-garde displays, in the forms of video and videoinstallation, within the framework of exhibitions and fairs destined to the public at large (and it is this zone that forms the special focus of the present paper). In particular, the case of Images du Futur, the international exhibition of art, new technology and communication (held in Montreal from 1986 to 1996: a decade characterised by great expectations with regard to advanced technology), will offer a vast and fascinating canvas which charts an evolution that unfolds among prototypical, and at times archaic, attempts at new types of viewing medium, dead media, dead ends that feed on fin-de-siècle imagination.
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