The Kinetoscope of Time


Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo International Theatre Festival at Black Box Theater, 2015

Knipsu, Bergen, 2011

The audience is invited by a gallery attendant to enter a dark room with purpose-built seating facing a green velvet curtain. A man enters from the side of the room. He stands in front of the curtain and begins to speak an adaptation of Brander Matthews’ The Kinetoscope of Time, first published in 1895 and known for being the first gothic story focusing on a moving-image apparatus. The story is about a man’s encounter with a kinetoscope, an early motion picture device. The owner of the kinetoscope offers to show the narrator his own past, future and death.

The performer pulls the curtain to reveal a series of perfectly repeated scenarios of a living room that appears to have been recently, and suddenly, abandoned. The performer then disappears from the ‘stage’ while the recorded voice continues the story of this place from within the staged furniture. The scenarios resemble a strip of film with the antennas of the radios circling in unison as the story continues. The sequence repeats back-to-back with new audiences entering every cycle.


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