Rehearsal of a Grand Opera for One Person


Performance/Installation still from Devin King & Caroline Picard,
Rehearsal of a Grand Opera for One Person,
New Capital, Chicago.

Rehearsal of a Grand Opera for One Person

June 29 – 30, 2015

Airing at 1:30am, 4:30am, 7:30am, 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 7:30pm, 10:30pm CDT

By Devin King & Caroline Picard

Presented by The Green Lantern Press

As part of ACRE TV Takeover

Pulling from toy theater and the operatic tradition of regietheater, combined with the effect of streaming media in the present day, Caroline Picard and Devin King’s Grand Opera for One Person presents a 48-hour installation, interrupted for 2 hours by improvisatory guitar. The entire 48-hours is conceived as a performance of objects highlighting, in part, the potential for four 3-dimensional paintings to function as micro-stages that illicit a sense of anticipation and promise for aesthetic transformation within the viewer. The 2-hour interruption, or musical interlude, creates an intermission in the tableau, inverting traditional expectations about space and human relation.

Rehearsal of a Grand Opera for One Person assumes that a space can be active without human presence; a painting has the ability to move and affect, even while it is inanimate. Furthering that point, a birds-eye video loops simultaneously, capturing four acts and a curtain call of assorted objects as they move back, forth and around a black table by a pair of gloved hands. This simple choreography establishes a flux and flow of relations between things performing for a camera.

The collaboration was inspired by two separate lectures, samples of which are integrated into a looping 20-minute audio track. The first lecture about Graham Harman, Louis Zukofsky, John Cage and the sample-as-object (by King), and the second about Timothy Morton, Giorgio Agamben and The Pancantantra (by Picard) provide an ambient background text about nature and object oriented ontology.

The Opera is a Total Art Experience. It is massive, expensive, glittering and refined. Its high status and rarified aesthetic is easily inaccessible and exclusive — it is an older tradition, with massive audiences who sit together in vast, ornate rooms. King and Picard are interested in the potential for that form to be appropriated, reduced, tweaked and recontextualized as a one-on-one event, in which humans may or may not be present. This performance was their first rehearsal. This piece was performed on November 19th, 2012 in the basement of New Capital, in Chicago, Illinois.