Mathieu Enderlin prepares the second part of his Source Code project at the TOPIC creation residency.

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This July, TOPIC has had a new tenant in its creative residence, the French artist Mathieu Enderlin, who develops a new stage language in the field of puppet/object theatre, the result of meeting new technologies, theater and puppet arts.

It was while studying film that Mathieu Enderlin became interested in puppet theater. Discover a free and resolutely modern form of artistic expression. Think of the puppet as a support for the projection of the imagination, the starting point of a common dream shared by the actor and the spectator.

“This is the first time I’ve visited TOPIC and the first time I’ve faced a project alone, which is positive for me since it allows me to completely keep up with my rhythm and concentrate better,” says Mathieu, who is doing this residency with a second part of the project called Source Code.

Source code brings together three creations inspired by the same question that speaks of our day to day. How do new technologies modify our relationship with the world, others and ourselves? On the one hand, it is a societal question that implies our collective choices for the future, and on the other hand, it is a more individual question: what do we concretely do with technology in our lives?

In this second part of the project, the French artist continues, “we focus on that object from which we do not separate under any circumstances and which increasingly occupies more space in our lives: the mobile phone”.

In ‘Smart’, the name of the show with which he is in residence, the smartphone becomes the main protagonist of fables staged in a puppet theater. The Château de Guignol is transformed into a digital theater in which the organic and the digital are organized, intersect, and respond to each other. Telephones take the place of traditional puppets and a surprising hybridization unfolds before our eyes. The actor-puppeteer, alone on stage, multiplies and tries to organize the lives of all his avatars. The humorous scenes that make up the show highlight our strange behaviors induced by the use of our technological tools and show all the humanity that machines help to reveal.

This playful and moving reflection on the way technology affects our lives is aimed at a family audience. With the screen in hand or pocket, permanently connected, we live two lives: a biological life and a digital life. And the second seems to be much easier. The smartphone is “smart”. Lighten our day to day. We can move in an instant, chat in any corner of the world, discover incredible landscapes, share experiences… We can reinvent ourselves, shape our image as we please.

How do we manage the coexistence of these two worlds? In the midst of these images that are constantly returned to us in a different way, through virtual relationships that open so many interfaces between us and ourselves, who are we really?

The idea of ​​a “theater of smartphones” arises from these questions. By combining puppet techniques and new phones, we are able to stage the digital avatars of viewers live. The experience consists of seeing what happens to these artifacts in the virtual space of the theater. How do they interact with each other? What stories do they tell? What affects does the public project onto these doubles of themselves?

“The puppet theater can be, perhaps better than any other art, a means to explore these questions. Since its inception, it has strived to develop and stage complex forms that combine human and artificial bodies. That these bodies now bear the mark of the techniques that are ours, digital and numerical, is a natural continuation of their development. It is these own resources of puppet techniques that I want to put at the service of current challenges”, ends by saying Enderlin, who calculates that the preparation of this work will take him a year of work until he presents it.

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