La Meridienne – the Observatory, Besançon

For the performance at the Observatory in Besançon groups of 12 people were guided on a journey from the present to the 19th century via a set of different trips that provoked reflection on time and temporality.

1. The journey started at the contemporary part of the observatory. Here the audience met the institute’s director François Vernotte who introduced the atomic clocks that allow them to measure time in the most precise way currently available.

2. The audience then moved into the garden where Per briefly introduced the project. After that we together walked to the ancient director’s villa, which is a beautiful 19th century building that has been disused for a long time. The was informed that the would embark on a journey to the 19th century. At that time, like today, Besançon was world-leading in time measuring. But at that time it was the stars that allowed them to measure time with the greatest of exactitude. In order to use the old time keeping machine it was very important to be able to count the passing seconds with great exactitude.

The audience was blindfolded and they were asked to count the passing time. They were then administered different tastes and if they liked the flavour they were asked to divide the time counted by two and if they disliked it, they should multiply the time passed by two. Three different flavours were administered. At the end of the tasting session each member of the audience had arrived at a number that they were asked to keep in mind like a mantra.

3. A guide took each blindfolded member and led them through the foliage, across a small road unto the time machine. Here they were asked to follow a 60m long rope that lead them through the garden and into the past. Some unexpected objects and substances were attached to the rope

4. On the other side, another guide led them into a building where they were told that they were standing in front of a large and beautiful state of the arts time keeping machine and the solitary man, who just like them, kept living in the dark. They were asked to imagine what the machine and building look like while they were bombarded with different smells that activated their olfactory senses. Finally they were asked to imagine when 20 women are making calculations while strange noise impressions appeared around them made by their invisible ghost guides.

4. The performance ended when the ghost guides left the room and the blindfolds were removed so that the audience could see the beautiful machine.

The following artists participated in the performance: Camille Millian, Laura Phillipe, Johanne Grandjean, Fabien Guillermont, Natalia Kamia, Cecilia Ahlqvist, Julie Tavarmin, Katharina, Vincent.