Installation, seven unique objects, dimensions variable
In this installation, C.T. Jasper explores the visual and aural spaces of cinema for renewed interpretation, understanding, and engagement. PLAYTIME draws inspiration from two Jacques Tati films: My Uncle and Playtime. In both films, Tati attached great importance to the architecture, and dwelling seems to be in service to the modern environment. Steel and glass—inflexible materials—dominate, and the architecture enforces discipline, carefully choreographing the movement of people who seem lost in a pre-designed world like objects on a factory conveyor belt. Tati obsessed over the construction of cinematic architecture to the extent that space plays a central character in his films. In fact, a vast 162,000 square-foot city-set, or “Tativille,” was built to shoot Playtime.
Jasper adapts the distinctive cinematic, architectural, and acoustical qualities of My Uncle and Playtime. In this 950 square-foot installation various filmic aspects—design, furniture, objects, lighting, colors, and sounds—are excised, montaged, and fused into a single physical realm. It is not a literalized interpretation or a one-to-one re-creation but an investigation into Tati’s films, an inquiry into representation, and an observation on the widespread impact cinema makes on routine perceptions.
In addition to a precise attention to architectural space, Tati intricately interwove sound into his films to create a temporal identity; buzzes, beeps, and hums equal modernity, and a lively, carefree music suggests the past. Experimenting with these precisely delineated spatiotemporal contexts of a new and an old, Jasper edits and mixes sound to make an original kaleidoscopic track. This new soundtrack is accessible only while visitors stand partially inside a large, transparent plastic globe through which sound is separated from the rest of the installation. Visitors to PLAYTIME insert their head into this plastic sound-space globe, and one at a time, they are transported to another ethos.
While the soundtrack and furniture certainly recall the two Tati films, PLAYTIME does not present filmic space by any means. Jasper’s environment is a representation of what are reproductions in the first place, remembering Tati’s insistence on making all the architecture and props for “Tativille.” Jasper is interested in the deeply engrained influences that cinema and entertainment industries have on our perception of reality and our gathering of knowledge, and with this installation, he scrutinizes and dissects cinematic language, both visual and aural. He opens up conversations about its adaptation—how it even becomes relative—to our practices of understanding and interpreting everyday life.