“La Cour des Miracles” by Louis-Philippe Demers, Bill Vorn

  • ©, Louis-Philippe Demers and Bill Vorn, La Cour des Miracles
  • Photo from billvorn.concordia.ca


    La Cour des Miracles

Artist(s) and People Involved:


Artist Statement:

    La Cour des Miracles is a universe of faked realities loaded with “pain” and “groan”. The aim of this project is to induce empathy of the viewer towards these “characters” which are solely articulated metallic structures. Therefore, we want to underline the strength of the simulacra by perverting the perception of these animates, which are neither animals nor humans, carried through the inevitable instinct of anthropomorphism and projection of internal sensations, a reflex triggered by any manifestation that challenges our senses. The viewers must travel a long and narrow”sordid” space located in a building basement or in an industrial-looking site. The machines are distributed along this confined corridor, crawling on the floor or hiding in dark corners. The close proximity of the machines challenges the viewer’s comfort and impressions of one’s physical safety. The soundtrack is an important element of the installation. Whispers, lamentations, howlings and cries are suggested by different processed sounds generated by the surrounding speakers. In addition to its own mechanical sounds (valves, relays, squeaks), each robot has a speaker and a specific sound source controlled by the computer. If a robot detects someone in its proximity, it will generate sounds that will reinforce the illusion of its natural behavior. Six different kind of characters populate the installation:

    1. The Harassing Machine calls upon the passing viewer by shaking its articulated arms towards them. At the extremity of these members, small tentacles (agitated by compressed air) tease the intruders with importunate touches.
    2. The Begging Machine is rocking its trunk back and forth on its base and raises its mechanical arm towards the viewers walking by. In order to emphasize the solicitation behavior, the beggar has a suction device fixed at the end of its articulated arm.
    3. The Limping Machine walks painfully towards the viewer while stumbling awkwardly because of a different or distorted member of its body.
    4. The Heretic Machine is locked up in a cage. When viewers come by, it rushes violently towards them, grabs the metal grid and furiously shakes its cage.
    5. The Crawling Machine is creeping laboriously on the floor. Slow and vulnerable, it tries to run desperately away from the approaching viewers.
    6. The Convulsive Machine is a thin metallic structure shaking with frequent but yet irregular spasms, especially when the viewers approach.