weS.A.N.K. Deep Stage As...

or 161 prototypes of the stage of the future

by Vincent Roumagnac + Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou + Guests


Venue: Vapaan Taiteen Tila, Helsinki

Dates: 14.11 - 18.11 2018

Public open hours: From 3 pm to 9 pm

Free entry


Staged/Installed outcome of the two-year research project weS.A.N.K. (Speculative Architecture of Neganthroposcenic Kronotopias).

Second and last examined artistic part of Vincent Roumagnac's artistic research doctorate (Tutke/Performing Arts Research Centre - Uniarts Helsinki).



(This text was published on Uniarts Helsinki news pages, Baltic Circle Festival 2018 website and social networks, among other means of dissemination.)

The weS.A.N.K. research project emerged from director-researcher Vincent Roumagnac’s dialogue with architect- researcher Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou. It surfaced at the confluence of Roumagnac's doctoral research on “Deepening the Stage” and Chiappone-Piriou's research on proto-architecture in relation to art and computation. Together they have designed and implemented a two-year experimental project with and around the question: "How to prototype the stage of the future?".
Via five collaborative sessions, in Tokyo, Paris, Helsinki, Barcelona and Daegu, together with artists and architects invited locally, they carried out the performative design and assembling of those prototypes.
From general themes – including theatre and architecture, stage and time ecology, big data and post-industrial landscapes, dystopian narratives and daily rituals, networks, climate, memory, energy and affect... – the spontaneous conceptualization and manufacture of prototypes sought to explore contemporary bio/techno-sensitive and geographical conditions and, from those diverse perspectives, to coalesce physical and informational objects with a scenic dimension.
weS.A.N.K. Deep Stage As... , which is the final staging in Helsinki of the whole research project, invites spectators to enter this speculative landscape and to take part, through the experience of the shared quantity, in the emergence of alternative common scenic imaginaries.


Quantity #1


The 161 prototypes (objects)* were remade after being shipped back to Helsinki in pieces. They were installed underground, in one of the tunnels of a former atomic shelter in Helsinki Sörnainen district, now dedicated to art shows. They were arranged before, through, and beyond the pre-existing scenic frame/structure in the venue, usually used to illuminate in situ performances. Vincent Roumagnac's piece Backdrop, initially exhibited in the Research Pavilion in Venice in 2017, and by which the prologue of weSANK was performed, was resized and added to the back of the metal structure. The prototypes appeared at a distance from the access door, like a puddle, or a wave, spreading from the middle to the bottom of the tunnel, overflowing through the double scenic structure constituted by the “stage-cage” and the backdrop. The general raw neon lighting of the tunnel was maintained. Two light sources were added from two video projectors; a blue source, projection of a looped film of “blue noise”, oriented towards the center of the scenic structure, following the logical direction of the tunnel, and a white source, projection of a looped film of optical white screen, diffracting laterally the light direction beyond the semi-transparent backdrop. The choice of videoprojectors was motivated by the dramaturgy of using the same presentation tools that were used during the five collobrative sessions in Tokyo, Paris, Helsinki, Barcelona and Daegu, and reiterating the contextual lighting mode of the five sessions' outcome. Go to documentation.


Quantity #2


The 161 prototypes (texts)* were edited and printed, following the logic of the five collaborative sessions, in a 76-page booklet. Consultation booklets were set up according to three stations of relative comfort, namely three mattresses covered with white toppers all along the tunnel. Go to documentation.

*All the prototypes (objects + texts) presented here as Quantity #1 and Quantity #2 were produced individually during the five collaborative sessions in Tokyo, Paris, Helsinki, Barcelona and Daegu. These prototypes are abstract experimental objects. In their installed state of temporary stabilization, they operate in a speculative way, not as models to be realized, but in a more autonomous way, with their own performativity and potentiality, without a specific objective of future construction. In this quality, they can be experienced "per se", both as stages and as scenes (en tant que scènes, in French)


Quantity #3

weS.A.N.K. Deep Stage As S.O.M.


S.O.M. / Self Organizing Maps is a type of neural network that produce low-dimensional discretized samples out of multi-dimensional datasets. Invented by Finnish professor Teuvo Kohonen, this machine intelligence system operates through training (that is quantization, assigning a countable vector value to the elements input set) and mapping (that is, arranging the vectors in regard to the ‘map’ nodes, in a way that respects the topological nature of the dataset). Produced through five different geographical spaces, the 161 prototypes find a common ground through the SOM: they enter a play, a polyphonia in which they express themselves by means of a binary language. In the digital space of the S.O.M., their similarities are not anymore the one that the human eye can catch when ravelling through the physical accumulation, but through quantitative criteria, producing a new interpretation of the topographic play with every training of the neural network. It is indeed through alienation that the prototypes can find a commonality. weS.A.N.K. Deep Stage As S.O.M.  is also considered as a prototype, among the 161 prototypes. Its staging consists of the loop on a led screen of a one-minute video introducing the 13 first outputs obtained from a first basic programming. This prototype opens the possiblility of its own enhancement through algorithmic autopoiesis, that could be processed by a trained artificial director. Go to documentation.



Quantity #4

weS.A.N.K. Deep Stage As...


Deep stage as… is an anaphoric text operating as a pluri-title for the staged outcome of weS.A.N.K. artistic research project. It consists of 161 formulas indexed to the 161 proto-types/texts. This final titling of the whole production originates from the initiative of first-session participant and architect Josselin Vamour. It is intended to function as a supplementary data, looping near the two main produced quantities, of objects and of texts. It also echoes, in its repetitive form of manifesto, or mantra, the prologue of the project Considerings. Scrolling and looping on a led panel at the entrance of the installation, it aims at opening the imaginary of the whole project as what we could call, in the line of the series of "openers of pontentiality" following the inaugural OuLiPo, an OuScePo, an Ouvroir Scénique Potentiel (roughly translated: opener of scenic potential). At the time of the downloading of the text on the device, the last thirty "titles" were involuntarily corrupted during the operation by the machine system itself. The hosts decided to keep this serendipitous glitch in the final display of the work. Go to documentation.


Quantity #5

weS.A.N.K. Considerings - Final iteration

The inaugural text-prologue-manifesto-mantra of weS.A.N.K. project, Considerings, performed in Venice for the public launch of the project, is here iterated, displayed through a directional audio speaker hung in the tunnel of the bunker where the outcome of the project is installed. The source-file of the audio track was recorded in September 2018 in Paris by Vincent Roumagnac and Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou. It was then edited, and so to say disturbed, with and by the addition of the third - digital and whispering - voice. With a duration of 24 minutes, the recording oscillates between the clarity of the text uttered by the two human voices, and its progressive corruption by the recovering digital and spectral alien voice. While at the beginning of the project, in Venice, the two human voices would clearly be detached from the background digital whisperer, and therefore would offer a direct understanding of the text, this final recording has been altered by the growth of the nonhuman digital parasite within. In the specific context of Roumagnac's research, this recording echoes the filmed outdoor conference of the first artistic part of his doctoral process, in which the voice of the artist-lecturer was entirely covered by the autumn wind and disrupted by the loud frictions of the latter with the camera microphone. Go to documentation.

More installations views here.

The videographic and photographic documentation was realized by Vincent Roumagnac


A conclusive text will supplement this exposition and be published as part of Roumagnac's doctorate commentary in 2020.