Nicolas Vargelis. The Blue Balcony

Premier travail de Nicolas, à New York, voir ces précédents travaux in

 The Blue Balcony.

«Reception for The Blue Balcony in Petit Versailles, 247 East Second Street, Thursday the 14th of March, 8pm until late.  There will be intermittent screenings of Busby Berkeley and Len Lye shorts during the reception.  Et al. The Blue Balcony East Village, New York, NY

The Blue Balcony is a cinema sculpture built in Petit Versailles Garden by the artists et al.  Residents in the East Village and guests are invited to nightly film screenings and weekend matinees. See a weekly schedule.

The sculpture’s exterior is a nondescript patchwork of refuse lumber, while the interior references the atmospheric movie palaces of the Nineteen-twenties.  Decor wise the ceiling is an intricately meandering black pattern constellated with specks of light, and the walls mimic outdoor scenery.  Giving the viewer the impression she stepped in an unearthly time.  During the screenings ambient colored cove lighting and dim spots are left on, as was often the practice in cinema palaces, making it possible for attendees to be able to see while entering and leaving mid-program; as well as to affect the tenor of the film.  The sculpture is intended as a fragment to what could be a larger cinema palace, with three levels of seats it can accommodate an audience of fourteen.

Thematically the balcony is dripping with allusions to Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist fairytale The Blue Bird, as well as to the no longer extant labyrinth of Louis XIV’s Gardens of Versailles, and the 1924 silent cubist film L’Inhumaine. Featuring Georgette Leblanc as a vampish chanteuse at home in the modern designs of the french architect Robert Mallet-Stevens.


In the same way that a good plot twist can shake a movie viewer out of a self-shrouding world* revealing a double meaning, The Blue Balcony undertakes with slowness to perform a similar sleight of hand.  Where the movie screen should be two large panes of glass look out onto a garden path, rippling leaves, and shades of light that bounce off the wall from Houston Street.  The projected image that audiences are accustomed to seeing on screen will be permanently deferred for the duration of a visit to The Blue Balcony.

During a screening the soundtrack of the film remains intact, but without an image, the experience of watching a movie is disembodied.

image copie
Each film frame has been divided into a grid with nine sections and each section has been processed with a computational algorithm determining the overall luminosity level of that section.  In total outputting nine values.  The values are then matched with nine sources of light embedded in the walls individually controlling the levels of light.  Such that there is a pulsating periphery that reenacts the event of light bounced off a projected movie screen and on to the walls.  Though this time sans-screen.

What the audience is left experiencing is an illusion of what is missing.  A chiasmus turning the black box cinema on its head, and extinguishing the delivery of attention en masse to a central gaze.  Untethered, the audience’s eyes no longer service a narrative, but are, perhaps, at leisure to tarry….» Nicolas Vargelis