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Fermented movies

The new ecological concerns connected to the awareness of our responsibility in the global warming phenomenon modify our relationship in abstraction and in dematerialization of contemporary technologies and of information. If modern techniques, like electricity, electromagnetism or digital technology, and manners which were pulled of (artificial light, cinema, mobile, internet telephony, etc.) appeared to us until now as relatively neutral, dematerialized, light and without consequence, we today attend their thickening, a darkening and their thickening. Dematerialization was only visible and one discovers that even a simple search on Google consumes some energy and throws back 0,2 grams of CO2 in the atmosphere. In reality, today everything seems to take weight, nothing escapes to the physicality of the sensitive world, or virtual where our avatar, as our body, also produce CO2, nor wireless with non-ionizing radiations could have consequence on health. Carbon assessments and energetics are now recko- ned at every level of the world. Chemical, physical and biological exchanges are outlined between the body, atmosphere of the planet and the most dematerialized technologies. This beginning of the XXIth century sees interconnecting all things of the world, in which no more form exists independently of the others. Alive and sluggish are henceforth chained one with the other one, in infinite ecological cycles of exchanges of material and energy, and the simple fact of switching on a bulb in its kitchen has from now on a consequence on the global climate of the planet.

Our proposition for a cinema in the KW recovers from this new energy and material consciousness. Our purpose is to accept today that physical links, transfers of materials and energies, exist between things which we until today presented in a separate way. We want to build consciously energy, material, food exchanges, to go out of autonomy of elements. Our project creates chemical and biological links, between usually separated things. For what we want to do, it is to organize the passage of energy from a form to the other one, to concretize the invisible streams, to reuse wasted energies, to organize interaction between organic and inorganic world, between space and body, computing and physiologic, culture and food.

From then on, a 35 mm cinema showing is not any more the disembodied place of a pure distribution of immaterial images. Images come to light and we discover them make of light and so light appears as made by heat. Images in movement consume some energy, produce greenhouse gases. For a 2 hours film, more than 2000 grams of CO2 are thrown back in the atmosphere, produced by the 35 mm projector which consumes 4 KW / HOURS in electricity which it transforms almost entirely into heat. Because images of cinema, are electromagnetic brilliances resulting from a projector, it is waves of heat and light that cross the room to burst on the white screen, to communicate on it its colors and intensities, break itself there to become heat. Beam of projection is an electromagnetic field composed of visible and invisible wavelength, of light and heat. In contact with the screen, this energy is reflected for a part, incorporates in for an other one, and transformed itself into heat.

If emission of information with the projection in cinema is not energeticaly neutral, reception is not it either. To watch a movie is also a loss of energy by body, even if we are only sit in an armchair. This expenditure of physical energy, translated by an emission of heat in 37°C, is made to assure the basic metabolism - cardiac beating, respiratory movements, hormones synthesis. We can quantify the energy lost for a period of 2 hours movie in 120 kcal. When we sleep, this spent energy falls in 50 kcal or rises in 2000 kcal if we go in for sport. It is this energy lost necessarily during the day which we compensate by food by ingesting at least 1500 kcal.

Here, what interests us are these energy links hidden between a movie projection, loss of calorie as spectator and farther, food. It is a cycle we want to emphasize, where overlap aesthetic and physiological, culture and food. It is also a typological requestioning on notion of program, where today a cinema is coupled with a bar which distributes popcorn and coca-cola. To realize energy, as we make it during a scientific experiment where we add a colouring agent to a substance to follow the track and distinguish it from the others, we suggest giving to the energy a white color. We suggest to realize this plastical characteristic with some milk, the various forms of which give rhythm to the transformation of energy during the cinema session. White is the color of the screen, necessary value to colors and brilliant forms reflection. We propose a screen as a fine translucent cavity which we shall fill with 9 liters of milk in the beginning of projection. During the 2 hours of showing, milk will warm itself by absorbing heat of the shown images and will begin a process of fermentation. At the end of the projection, we shall empty the screen of these 9 liters of milk to fill yoghurt-makers with it in the nearby room. Then, we shall compose with these 9 liters of milk, 60 yoghurts of 150 ml containing each 120 kcal. A yoghurt will be offered to each spectator at the end of the movie, so recovering 120 kcal lost by the metabolism during the show.

In reality, this project is very close to the current practice of cinema, where projection comes along with consumption of popcorn or chocolate bars, where projectionist is also a cook, where culture and food mix, merge in the same energy cycle. In this process, we find certain pre modern forms of thought, where morality and physiology cross themselves, where aesthetics and biology, synaesthesia and irrational built a strange but nevertheless premonitory empirical ecological system of current exchanges of energy. If milk is chosen as its white color becomes screen, it is also the nourishing value which interests us. Far off, it is also, a certain irrational echo to the diet of nursemaids at the beginning of the XIXth century when we thought that morality of nursemaid could influence quality of its milk, be passed on to the infant and influence morality of the latter.In this case, sixty yoghurts which will have fermented during the projection of a movie could become a fermented form of this movie, so we could taste it then.

Complementary fermentation of 60 yoghurts is made in yoghurt-makers in the nearby room of the exhibition hall. These yoghurts are immediately consumed, or preserved in refrigerators. A cleaning system with very simple pump, such used in dairies, by water and alkaline cleaner by sodium hydroxide as Ecolab P3-mip guarantee hygiene of the system, and cleanliness of screen and tubes.

The editing and printing device will take place in the room. Stickers will mention the name of the movie and the label of the yogurth will be « Fermented movies ». The showing room is totally mat black except the milk in the screen, the other room is in a complete shiny white partially made in silicon and glass.

The project joins in the sustainable development. A system of air renewal double-stream is installed al- lowing to reduce by a factor of 4 the energy spent on heating. The stream of the renewal of air follows the passage of energy from a room to an other one. It allows to connect the various moments of the session. So, the new air resulting from the outside is preheated in winter in the cinema to pass then in the cafeteria then in the toilet before going out by preheating in a thermal heat exchanger the entering air.


Aurore Chartier, Quentin Vaulot, Goliath Dyèvre, Maxine Leclerc


KUNST-WERKE BERLIN e.V. - Institute for Contemporary Art

location, date

Berlin, Germany, 2009