Comme suspendu, created in 2020 by the Cie du Théâtre l'Articule, is a show for the very young. It is the first show to run with only projectors designed and manufactured by the Phluux workshop.
...a red balloon comes to life and becomes a face that ends up being expressive as the movements and the play of subdued lights are so well done.Dauphiné Libéré, February 3, 2022.
In Comme suspendu the strength of the images depends very much on the precision of the lighting. Appearance here, sudden disappearance there: the invisible manipulators are only hidden by the absence of light. The demands of the staging combined with the unusual shape of the structure require a large number of spotlights, yet the entire show - including the light structure - must fit into a 6m3 van.
Work with tape to shape the beam
To be able to work with the necessary precision in these conditions, I didn't have much choice: profiles* would have been too heavy to fit on such a light structure. I needed sources on which it would be convenient to work with tape to shape the beam** but which remain light.
Already, during the creation of the previous show of the Cie l'Articule, I had felt the need to have on hand projectors that I could easily transform, adapt and manipulate. I remember having spent an incredible amount of time adapting some of these small "cigars" found in the shops to a device that allowed me to work the light according to my desires.
An ideal projector
As I imagined what the perfect projector would be for the small shapes I like to work on, I realized that I could do better than just imagining it. With the help of the On l'fait FabLab and their 3D printer, I set out to handcraft small LED projectors. For this first design, only one part inside the projector is printed. The rest is an assembly of an ABS case, an aluminum heat sink and an optic.
The interest of such a "rough" design is that it is very easy to adapt a cardboard nose to work on with the sctoch.
I admit that I was initially intimidated by the process. Building my own projectors? All the sources of a show! And then after having overcome my first apprehensions, I realized that the atypical side of this approach appealed to me a lot. We certainly can't (yet?) do without the industries, but we can already bypass the standard commercial circuit and explore new ways of doing things by creating our own tools. The question is not whether we can do better, but whether we can do it ourselves and what the benefit is.
Superb ambassador for the Phluux workshop, Comme suspendu carry on with its journey and continues to perform!
On my side, I continue to imagine other designs and to make prototypes. In the medium term, I will document them in more detail. To stay informed of new articles, you can follow the Mastodon account of the workshop: @email@example.com.
*A profile is a type of spotlight with a complex optical system and "gates" to shape the light beam.** Tape light work is common in theatrical lighting. Usually aluminum tape is used, which can withstand high temperatures.