Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre de la Ville and Centre Pompidou

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Paris — Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre de la Ville and Centre Pompidou : nearly 40 000 visitors, in three weeks

DAU closed its doors on Sunday 17 February, after illuminating the Parisian artistic scene during the three weeks it opened at Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre de la Ville and Centre Pompidou. In spite of a delayed start due to the prefect’s authorisation coming late, 39 168 visitors took part in the project. The opening of the two twin theatres of the place du Châtelet – for 7 days a week and 24 hours a day – with no interruption to the renovation works, represented an exceptional opportunity for the public to enter the backstage spaces of these two institutions.

The universe of DAU – cinematographic and spiritual – was discovered by an audience of all ages, young for the most part, in spaces that were specially designed for the event.

Over 850 screenings of the 13 DAU films and series took place in 6 specially designed screening rooms with a capacity ranging from 19 to 400 people. DAU Digital, a 700-hour archive of digitalised film, available in over 50 individual booths, allowed participants to pursue their exploration freely. Over a hundred Active Listeners – priests, rabbis, pastors, shamans, energy practitioners and other spiritual and religious leaders – who were recruited specially for the project, gave about 4 500 one-to-one sessions to participants. Several hundreds took traditional rituals with shamans from the Altai Republic, in the South of Sibera, among which several were already present in the Institute of DAU.

Many international artistic collaborators also contributed to the artistic experiential density of the three weeks.

About a hundred works borrowed from the Soviet art collection of the Centre Pompidou and scattered along the spaces of the two theatres, and several installations and ephemeral creations were also present throughout the DAU universe: the helium balloons of Philippe Parreno, a reminder of the theory that won Lev Landau his Nobel prize, Persona, an installation by Romeo Castellucci, a former participant of the Institute, which was presented in the womb of the Théâtre du Châtelet, a soundscape created specially from the sound archive of the Institute by the polymath Brian Eno, a line of molecular scents conceived by Marina Abramović and labeled after the 95 keywords of the project, upside-down goggles whose prototypes were tested in the DAU Institute by Carsten Höller and offered for trial on the balcony of the Théâtre du Châtelet, …

Over 300 concerts and performances covering the whole musical spectrum took advantage of the acoustics of the different spaces. The collaboration started by DAU with the conductor Teodor Currentzis, who in the films embodies the character of Dau, was pursued in Paris, where the orchestra MusicAeterna took its quarters for a whole week under the cupola of the Théâtre de la Ville, allowing audiences to enter rehearsals and also creating, in situ and live, new collaborative works with Brian Eno. The transgender musician Arca inhabited the opened stage pit of the Théâtre de la Ville for four days. 8 meters below the stage, his musical improvisations with the virtuoso pianist Mikhail Rudy were reflected by the gigantic mirror, inclined towards the audience, 30 meters under the ceiling. Many more figures from the European artistic scene such as the choreographer Sasha Waltz, the DJs and musicians Agoria or Marko Nikodijevic or the pianist Edna Stern joined this musical and artistic improvisation.

70 speakers took part in the Parisian cycle of DAU conferences blending science, theology, art and politics, among which the physicists Costas Bachas, Nikita Nekrasov and Samson Shatashvili, all important figures from the international scientific community and the Institute.

Many of these conferences took place in the recreated communal Soviet apartments in which Ukrainian and Chechen families lived for three weeks, and in the three bars of the project, which offered a regularly changing menu of typical Soviet drinks and fare.

From the heights of the Théâtre du Châtelet, the terrace of one of the bars offered a panoramic view on Paris, on the Red Triangle of lasers which united the three institutions in the nocturnal sky, on the LED panels which covered the facades of the two theatres.

For the City of Paris, a longtime supporter whose political will made the project possible, welcoming DAU into the capital city of France is a sign of forward-thinking and avant-garde recalling the Ballets russes which hit Paris with their glory at the beginning of the previous century.

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